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Chapter

Week 8 readings

6 Pages
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Department
Health Studies
Course Code
HLTA02H3
Professor
Toba Bryant

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Readings for Week 8
1. Social Class and Health Inequalities by Julie McMullin and Loraine Davies
*SES was used as a proxy, or interchangeably for social class in this chapter
social class is one of the many social structures that organizes and pattern social life in
Canada
a sociological understanding of the social structure recognizes that individuals are not
disadvantaged because they are lazy, stupid, or lacking in ambition. To understand social
structure in this way acknowledges that individuals do not freely make decisions about
their lives, but rather that their decisions are constrained by structural factors.
The alternatives that are available to people vary on the basis of the social structure.
Social class acts as a social structure because it is a mechanism that organizes people in
terms of relative disadvantage and it represents a means through which patterns of
privilege and reward are distributed.
the alternatives available to members of the working class are far fewer and more
restrictive than are the alternatives available to people of upper classes.
Over the past century, while many proximal risk factors for specific diseases have been
successfully identified and often eradicated, the socio-economic status gradient in health
has not disappeared. This, it is argued, makes socio-economic status a “fundamental
cause of disease”
The fundamental causal nature of SES is attributed to the fact that more privileged
individuals have more resources such asknowledge, money, power, prestige, and social
connectedness, which they can marshal in a variety of ways to protect their health.
As risk factors for disease change, so too can the strategies to avoid the risk factors,
especially among those with more resources and therefore higher SES.
More privileged individuals are less likely to experience the more preventable diseases
compared to the less preventable diseases in the U.S., but not in Canada. These findings
suggest thatCanadian social policies are more effective than U.S. policies in altering the
[SES] social conditions that affect the determinants of disease.
Social causation vs. social selection: it is not that lower education and income cause poor
health, but that those with poor health are not able to achieve high levels of income and
education. While it is generally agreed that social causation has a stronger effect than
social selection, selection factors do contribute to some of the SES variations in health.
For example, many individuals who experience health conditions also have trouble
securing stable employment and income.
Socio-economic inequality results in the differential distribution of health-enhancing and
life-extending resources such as income, education, and social connections among
individuals in society
When mortality rates are compared over a 25-year period between 1971 and 1996, we see
that although it has declined over time, an income gradient in mortality is evident, with
lower rates among the wealthiest income quintiles and the highest mortality rates among
the poorest income quintiles
when Montreal is compared to Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, it has
the highest unemployment rate and poverty index; it is also at the bottom of most health
indicators
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health disparities between high- and low-income populations are also evident. The infant
mortality rate in Saskatoon is more than five times higher in low income communities
compared to middle-income communities. Suicide rates are also much higher among low-
income populations (16 times) compared to high-income populations.
Risk of depression among Canadians is highest among the lowest income earners
the effect of education on health is above and beyond the income benefits that it brings. In
their words, “education develops habits, skills, resources, and abilities that enable people
to achieve a better life”
oIn Canada, the percentage of those aged between 45 and 64 years reporting heart
disease, arthritis, and rates of obesity are higher among those who are not high
school graduates.
oFor the total population, both education and income are related to rates of
smoking, with those lower on the socio-economic gradient more likely to smoke
There is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that socioeconomic status is associated with
mortality, morbidity, and mental health. To the extent that socio-economic status is a reasonable
proxy for social class, social class then matters too. If you are part of the working class, have a
low relative income and education, and work in a bad job, you are at greater risk of experiencing
health problems. This is even true in Canada, a country with a universal health care system that is
lauded by other countries.
2.The welfare state as a determinant of womens health: support of
womens quality of life in Canada and four comparison nations by
Dennis Raphael and Toba Bryant
Women in their assigned role of caregivers of both their children and relatives are most
likely to be impacted by changes in social assistance polices, changes to employment
insurance eligibility and provision of health and social services
Priority themes for considering quality of life: political rights and general values, health,
including health care, education, environment, social programs, personal well-being,
community, economy and employment and government.
In this paper, Canadian data are contrasted with those from Denmark, Sweden, the UK
and the US.
oDenmark and Sweden are nations with predominantly social welfare approach to
social policy, especially in relation to issues of concern to women
oUK and US have a predominantly market-oriented approach to these same issues
oThe case argued is that nations with a predominantly welfare state orientation are
more likely to support the quality of life themes relevant to womens health and
well-being
The welfare state is a capitalist society in which the state has intervened in the form of
social policies, programs, standards and regulations in order to mitigate class conflict and
to provide for, answer, or accommodate certain social needs for which the capitalist mode
of production in itself has no solution or makes no provision
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Description
Readings for Week 8 1. Social Class and Health Inequalities by Julie McMullin and Loraine Davies *SES was used as a proxy, or interchangeably for social class in this chapter social class is one of the many social structures that organizes and pattern social life in Canada a sociological understanding of the social structure recognizes that individuals are not disadvantaged because they are lazy, stupid, or lacking in ambition. To understand social structure in this way acknowledges that individuals do not freely make decisions about their lives, but rather that their decisions are constrained by structural factors. The alternatives that are available to people vary on the basis of the social structure. Social class acts as a social structure because it is a mechanism that organizes people in terms of relative disadvantage and it represents a means through which patterns of privilege and reward are distributed. the alternatives available to members of the working class are far fewer and more restrictive than are the alternatives available to people of upper classes. Over the past century, while many proximal risk factors for specific diseases have been successfully identified and often eradicated, the socio-economic status gradient in health has not disappeared. This, it is argued, makes socio-economic status a fundamental cause of disease The fundamental causal nature of SES is attributed to the fact that more privileged individuals have more resources such as knowledge, money, power, prestige, and social connectedness, which they can marshal in a variety of ways to protect their health. As risk factors for disease change, so too can the strategies to avoid the risk factors, especially among those with more resources and therefore higher SES. More privileged individuals are less likely to experience the more preventable diseases compared to the less preventable diseases in the U.S., but not in Canada. These findings suggest that Canadian social policies are more effective than U.S. policies in altering the [SES] social conditions that affect the determinants of disease. Social causation vs. social selection: it is not that lower education and income cause poor health, but that those with poor health are not able to achieve high levels of income and education. While it is generally agreed that social causation has a stronger effect than social selection, selection factors do contribute to some of the SES variations in health. For example, many individuals who experience health conditions also have trouble securing stable employment and income. Socio-economic inequality results in the differential distribution of health-enhancing and life-extending resources such as income, education, and social connections among individuals in society When mortality rates are compared over a 25-year period between 1971 and 1996, we see that although it has declined over time, an income gradient in mortality is evident, with lower rates among the wealthiest income quintiles and the highest mortality rates among the poorest income quintiles when Montreal is compared to Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, it has the highest unemployment rate and poverty index; it is also at the bottom of most health indicators www.notesolution.com
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