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Chapter 2

HLTHAGE 1AA3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Percivall Pott, Social Conflict Theory, Immunodeficiency

Health, Aging and Society
Course Code
Elena Neiterman

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-the purpose of this chapter is to describe and analyze critically the methodologies used in the
construction of knowledge in the 4 theoretical paradigms: structural functionalism, conflict theory,
symbolic interactionism, and feminist and anti-racist theory
-this is most often associated with structural functionalism and it’s distinguished by 3 fundamental
Sociology is a science that seeks to describe the social world in series of universal causal laws
This science sees human behaviour as objectively measurable through such methods as survey
research and experimental designs
Social facts are to be treated as things because they determine human social behaviour and
attitudes through the norms that regulate human behaviour
-much of the sociology of medicine falls within this including studies of:
Who seeks medical services and how frequently
What role is played by such social factors as social norms for defining mental and physical illness
How important social support from family and friends is in preventing, minimizing, or helping to
adjust to illness
What significance the quality of life work, recreation, community, physical activity,
occupational conditions plays in the health and well-being of people
-positive studies analyze the relationships between social facts & various sorts of health-related
-From chapter 1…Model A, health-related variables are dependent and in Model B, the health-related
variable is the independent variable
-Model B research might be studies that examine the impact of changes in health status. Some socio-
psychological and demographic variables that may be selected for study are age, sex, gender role,
marital/family status etc.
-In these models, a variable can be causal in one study and caused in another. Before causal connections
can be determined and verified, at least 4 conditions must be met which are:
That there is an association between the variables
That there is evidence that one variable precedes the other in a time sequence
That other, potentially intervening, variables can be eliminated
That the relationship makes theoretical sense
-causal relationships may involve more than 2 variables (known as multivariate analysis)
-path modelling analysis involves assumptions about the time sequence of a number of variables that
either affect the dependent variable directly or affect other variables and through them the dependent
variable (refer to figure 2.1)
-epidemiology is the study of the causes and distribution of disease (example of positivist methodology)
-the purpose of epidemiology is to understand disease patterns in order to minimize or alleviate their
effects, it is not sociology. However to the extent that social labelling of disease, social relations, and
social structural positions of people are considered relevant subjects for the analysis of disease
incidence and prevalence
-Sir John Snow is said to have done the first epidemiological research when he noted that a good
proportion of the people who became ill with cholera had drunk water from the same water pump
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