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Chapter 9

Reading for Week 8. Book: Social Problems, Chapter: 9

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SP9: Health Issues
Aronowitz; framing disease, social patterning of health and subjectivism. Framing phenomena.
Thomas Dictum; what we believe to be true is true in consequences
Medical Sociology; examines the social context of health, illness and health care. (social factors that
promote illness and contribute to health inequalities).
Defining and Measuring health
Definitions of health and illness
Biomedical view of medicine; western view of medicine; health as passive, illness as active process
requiring treatment. treat patient rather than disease.
Well being; state of existence characterized by happiness, satisfaction, etc
Health, state of physical, mental and social well-being
Overall, there is a biopsychosocial view of health and illness.
Measuring health/illness
Epidemiology; examines causes, distribution and control of disease in populations.
Epidemiologist use indicators of health to examine different societies.
Men catch up to women in life expectancy (as quantitative indicator of health).
Also use, mortality rates (deaths/1000), maternal mortality rates.
Infant mortality rate (deaths under 1yo/1000 live births) and U5MR.
Morbidity rates (extent of disease in populations, incidence or prevalence). Terms; endemic (constantly
present), epidemic (local/national outbreak) or pandemic (international).
Threat to Canadian and Global Health
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The AIDS pandemic
SARS, Pandemic Influenza and Globalization of infectious disease
Sars as product of globalization
Mental Health and mental illness
Mental disorder; alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour.
Mental illness, clinical diagnosis of mental disorder requiring medical treatment
Mental illness due to biological, psychological and social/envrnmtl factors. Social disruptions (wars)
promote illness.
Depression to be worlds second leading cause of disability, widespread reliance on antidepressents.
Canada; lifetime prevalence of mental disorders of 1/5 ppl, among 15-24 it is 1/4 ppl.
Co-morbidity of mental disorders (sufferers have already been predisposed by their other mental
Mental illness higher in women, substance dependence higher in men
[from SP8,Metzls book on women relying on antidepressants] . If put together, equal prevalence in
Theories of Mental Illness:
Social Selection-. (ill ppl cause their class) Downward drift; illness results in social class
Social Causation-. (Class causes ppls illness)Upward drift; stresses of lower class life promote
Body mass index.(mass over squared height) Kg/m^2. Overweight >25kg/m^2, obesity >30kg/m^2
Theoretical Perspectives
Struct. Functnlsm
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