Health and Social Class Essay

2278 Words Nov 17th, 2012 10 Pages
The aim of this essay is to examine the influence that socio-economic status has on an individual’s health.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 1948.)

Social Stratification is a term used by sociologists to describe inequalities that exist between society and us as individuals and can also be described as a hierarchy with the less privileged people at the bottom and the more favoured people at the top. (Giddens, 2006)

Anthony Giddens (2006) defines class as “a large-scale group of people who share common economic resources, which strongly influence the type of lifestyle they are able to lead.” (pg 300). Karl Marx, a sociologist in the 19th
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The report gives a clear analysis of how inequality runs from the richest to the poorest. Using the RGSC’s scales one of the reports most famous findings was that a child of an unskilled manual worker would die 7 years earlier than a child born to professional parents. (Macionis & Plummer, 2005). Other findings were that people in class V were more likely to die of conditions like heart disease, cancer or stroke than those in class IV. It was evident that people in class I had a longer life expectancy, better health with lower death rates. (O’Donnell, 2005). The Black Report look at four main reasons which may explain the inequalities in health:-

The Artefact Explanation
Artefact being something made by people so there may have been some flaws in the findings. The official mortality and morbidity statistics could have been invalid or unreliable and it’s argued that observed social gradients in health maybe the product of poor quality data. Although this work confirmed that there were health inequalities it was suggested that it was underestimated by conventional analysis. (Asthana & Halliday, 2006). A study showed The authors of the black report didn’t find this explanation very convincing based on the fact that working class groups have not contracted as much as is often supposed, while poor health affects all manual workers, not just those classified as unskilled. (Kirby et al, 2000)

The Health/Social Explanation
The social selection is based on a