Chapter 2 lecture - Theoretical Foundations for Studying...

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Theoretical Foundations for Studying Health Inequalities Chapter 2
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Questions What effect does social cohesion have on individual and population health? How does worse health result from economic inequality? How does a deficit of trust or social capital cause poorer population health or prevent faster health improvements?
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0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Ecological Factors Health Behaviors Medical Care Biology Explaining Variations in Health Percentage Social factors exert a major impact on individual and population health.
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Explaining Variations in Population Health Patterns include: Disease and death rates Individual’s socioeconomic position influences their health to a greater extent Within developed nations, the poorer health on the lower part of the gradient is influence by social inequality
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Foundation for a Social Science of Health and Inequality Several existing theories provide conceptual building blocks for analyzing social inequalities in health 1. The Social Group and Health 2. Social Stratification and Health 3. Types of Societies and Risks to Population Health
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1. The Social Group and Health Social support encourages healthy behaviors and discourages risk-taking behaviors Social support buffers the impact of stressful life events on the body and mind. E.g., during time of loss of a loved one, disappointment at work, troubled relationships, etc.
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The Social Group and Health French sociologist Emile Durkheim found that socially isolated individuals were more likely to commit suicide that those well integrated into a network of social relationships.
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2. Social Stratification and Health Social stratification refers to the system by which individuals, families, or classes are located at varying positions in a social hierarchy Some societies are more unequal than others E.g., Brazil and Colombia are highly unequal where as Japan, Denmark, Norway are far more egalitarian because of “social” welfare state
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3. Types of Societies and Risks to Population Health Inequality in society depends on surplus resources available and beyond survival needs Inequality is determined by the organization and distribution of political power and social status
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Types of Societies and Risks to Population Health The health of the least technologically sophisticated societies is highly dependent on the weather and other aspects of the environment In societies with more sophisticated technologies, greater agricultural surpluses help populations survive unfavorable ecological conditions
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Epidemiologic Transition The world's health transition refers to a
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Chapter 2 lecture - Theoretical Foundations for Studying...

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