SOC246 - Lecture 5.docx

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11 Apr 2012
SOC246 Lecture 5
Aging and Health
Approaches to Studying Health:
o Assumes that phenomenon in the world are objectively “out there” for
us to observe.
o We can meaningfully measure the social world and make sensible
predictions about the future.
o Assumes that our job is to make sense of phenomena in the social
world and to question the meaning that people attach to words like
“health” or “ageing”
o Shows that health is a complex phenomena
o Ex. What is health?
People have different conceptions about what health is, think
more about what health means as they begin to age.
Positivistic Approaches:
morbidity some sort of lack of function
o preveleance how many people have that disease
o incidence how many cases arise
o epidemiological transition - shift in nature or types of morbidities that
are prevalent, infectious, acute (don’t last long) chronic (ongoing)
70%-80% of death in modern world comes from chronic
100years ago infections and acute disease were large killers
most chronic diseases increase in frequency and severity as
people age
chronic diseases are not distributed equally (social class plays
a role)
people in lower classes have higher levels of these
Disability The process in which diseases affect body systems compromise
ability to participate fully in social life (to act in socially expected ways)
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