lec033110 - Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic:...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic: Health/Medical Sociology Wednesday March 31, 2010 I. What is the Sociology of Health, or Medical Sociology? A. Medical sociology often takes one of two quite different approaches; 1. One strand of research and theory emphasizes health care as a social institution. Here, sociologists are interested in how health care services are delivered, the organization of medical care, and differences in how subgroups are treated by the medical establishment. 2. A second strand of research in the sociology of health is often referred to as “social epidemiology.” Social epidemiology is the study of the effects of social, cultural, temporal and regional factors on health and illness. Among the most important factors that affect individuals’ physical and mental health are race/ethnicity, social class, gender, and age. a. Understanding subgroup differences in physical and mental health offers important insights into a society’s values and practices. Health is considered one of the single best indicators of “quality of life” in a society, and thus it is one of the most telling indicators of inequalities in society. A. Life expectancies for women and men today are ages 79 and 73, respectively. This gender gap is a relatively new phenomenon however. In the past, men and women had similar life expectancies. How can we explain this historical change? [Note: life expectancy is the average number of years one can expect to live. We have life expectancies at different ages: age birth, at age 15, etc. Countries with very high infant mortality rates tend to have quite low life expectancies at birth, because of the many “age 0” deaths. However, life expectancies are much higher at age 30, for example, because it includes those persons who managed to survive the dangers of infancy and adolescence.] 1. Causes of death have changed. Whereas the leading causes of death in the past affected men and women at similar rates, the leading causes of death in the late 20 th century disproportionately strike men. This pattern is due, in part, to a phenomenon called the epidemiologic transition. a. The concept of epidemiologic transition reveals that in pre-modern eras (prior to the 18 th century), pestilence, famine and “crisis” mortality accounted for the majority of deaths. In this era, life expectancy at birth wavered from 20-40. b. Age of receding pandemics (18 th to early 20 th century). Here the leading causes of death were infectious diseases which are “egalitarian” diseases, meaning that they struck both genders and were fostered by malnutrition and poor sanitary conditions. Children were at particularly high risk. In NYC at the turn of the century, only one in four babies survived until age 5, and this high risk of death affected babies born to poor and wealthy families alike. i. Main causes of death at the turn of the century were:
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 11/20/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 920:101 taught by Professor Carr during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

Page1 / 6

lec033110 - Sociology 101 Professor Deborah Carr Topic:...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online