Chapter 2

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Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Intro to Research in HealthChapter 2Social Research on Health Sociological and Psychological Concepts and Approaches Part II Social Factors in Illness and Responses to IllnessSocial variations in health structural inequalities 26Investigators have mainly concentrated on the health effects of social stratification usually measured by socioeconomic group or social classSome investigators measure socioeconomic status more broadly by incorporating indicators of level of education wealth ie number of rooms car ownership income unemployment status as well as occupation Grundy and Holt identified education qualification and social class paired with an indicator deprivation as the best indicators of socioeconomic status among older people The two main explanations which attempt account for social variations in health and mortality in developed nations are the social causation hypothesis where factors associated with socioeconomic status influence health and the selection hypothesis which takes a life course perspectivePsychosocial stress and responses to stress 27Can be defined as a heightened mindbody reaction to fear or anxietyarousing stimuli ie illnessSome psychologists say stress is the product of a persons capacity for selfcontrol and include theories of selfefficacy hardiness ie personal feelings of control and mastery ie control over the response to stressBrunner and Marmot defined stress in relation to biological response of the individual to the social environment acting upon him or herCoping 28Refers to the cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage the internal and external demands of the stressful situationCoping style is one hypothesized mediating factor in the link between stress and illness and can be a moderating variable in relation to patients health outcomes after treatmentIdentified mediating factors relevant to coping include personality material resources and social support The extent to which a person experiences a situation as stressful depends on his or her personal ie belief in control and environmental ie social support coping resources and previous experiences Folkman and Lazarus Ways of Coping Scale is a popular scale of measurement for coping and coping styles Three types of coping skills were identified appraisalfocused problemfocused and emotionfocused copingBuffers to Stress 29The buffering hypothesis postulates that social support affects health by protecting the person against the negative impact of stressMain Effect hypothesis the alternative states that it is the social support itself which is beneficial and reduces the impact of the stressor and its absence acts as a stressorSocial Capital is the communitys reciprocal social support networks and resources and is embodied in measures of social networks social support and the availability of community resourcesSociology Stress and the management of illness 30Positivist sociologists focus on the social system itself as a potential source of stress and consequent illness or even suicide patternsSocial interactionists concentrate on the concept of self the stress arising from conflicting selfimages Use qualitative research methofs and focus more on how people manage their lives when suffering from illness Stigma Normalisation and Adjustment 31Deviance occurs when people perceive interpret and respond to the behaviour or appearance as deviant Stigma and Normalisation 31 One method of categorising coping and adjustment processes is in relation to the labelling of the person as ill and deviant and the amount of stigma the social reaction which leads to a spoilt identity and label of deviant attached to the condition Social interactionists are interested in peoples strategies in minimising any social stigma because of their illness
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