PSYC 3110 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Social Inequality, Social Darwinism, Socioeconomic Status

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Chapter 3: 42-48
Social Determinants of Health
Villerme (1820) French physician who reported on the relationship of health and
social conditions
o Examined health of residents in different neighborhoods
o Found relationship between the wealth of the neighborhood and the
health of its residents
o Poorer neighborhoods higher death rates, more illness, and disabilities
Social Darwinism- innate inferiority, not social injustice, causes ill health
1977- investigated social inequalities in health
o Created the Black Report (named after Sir Douglas Black)
o Unskilled manual workers (social class V) had poorer health status
o Professionals (Social class I) had higher health status
Black report states four explanations on social position and health
o An artifact- relationships between social position are an artifact of the
method of measurement
o Natural and social selection- social gradient in health is due to those who
are already unhealthy falling downwards while those who are healthy
rising upwards
o Materialist and structuralism explanations- emphasize the role of
economic and socio-structural factors
o Cultural and behavioural differences- the individual as a unit of analysis
emphasizing unthinking, reckless, or irresponsible behavior or incautious
lifestyle as the moving determinant
Gap is not narrowing because
o Nutrition is much worse among the poorest segment of population
o Tobacco smuggling impacts negatively on the health of the poor
o Cheap alcohol with special promotions and lowered prices
o Activity is discourages with many supermarkets and hospitals located out
of town requiring people to use public transportation or drive
o Healthy schools initiative lacked proper targets and evaluation
Social Inequality and Health
Extent of social inequality
Steady increase in Western societies inequality
UK- number of individuals rose from 15% to 24% from 81’ to 94
o Approx. 12.4 million people
Indicators of inequality in UK:
o Richest people have increased their share of total income
Richest 1% increased share of income from 6% to 13%
o Unequal distribution of wealth is increasing
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Document Summary

Social darwinism- innate inferiority, not social injustice, causes ill health. 1977- investigated social inequalities in health: created the black report (named after sir douglas black, unskilled manual workers (social class v) had poorer health status, professionals (social class i) had higher health status. Uk- number of individuals rose from 15% to 24% from 81" to 94: approx. Indicators of inequality in uk: richest people have increased their share of total income. Richest 1% increased share of income from 6% to 13: unequal distribution of wealth is increasing, life expectancy increased overall but more rapidly for social class i. Us estimates an increase from 11. 3% (2000) to 12. 5% (2003) Life expectancy in lower social classes is lower than those in higher social classes. Death gradient = mortality: continuous throughout the range of economic variation. Socio-economic status (ses) most significant factor of health in rich countries: defined by occupation, education and income.

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