provides a diagnosis and/or possible treatment then the patient can assume the fifth and finalstage of the typical illness experience: recovery and rehabilitation. One can also see illnessexperience as a biographical disruptionbetween one’s former healthy self with the current ill selfbrought about by the experience of illness. Personal accounts of the experiences of seriousillnesses are called autopathographies. Social causes of illness:This is in contrast to the biomedical model that may only look atbiological and physiological causes to disease. This approach looks to social factors that mayplay a role in illness, such as social inequalities, environmental exposures, living conditions, lackof healthcare access, stressors, etc. One way of determining social causes of illness would beimplementing social epidemiological methods. Stress and health outcomes: Stressors are more obvious in more unequal countries. Stressorstend to exacerbate illness symptoms and/or may be a cause of illness themselves. There could beacute and chronic instances of stress; either may be dangerous for one’s health. The claimedconsequences of chronic stress includes, but is not limited to, mental illness, cardiovasculardisease, skin rashes, hair loss, diminished immunity system, etc. There tends to be more stressorsfor low SES people than anyone else. Health policy could change this by dealing with the socialcauses of stress. For instance, the low income and low insurance rates for low SES folks aremajor stressors that could be treated by a universal income policy and/or universal healthcare.This is just one set of possibilities of course. Health inequalities:We primarily discussed this in terms of socioeconomic status (SES), race,gender, and sexuality. The largest inequalities in health (like in most social outcomes) arebetween high SES and low SES. That is, SES is seen as a social gradient of health such that highSES people have the best health outcomes, low SES people have the worst health outcomesoverall, and middle SES people have health outcomes that are worse than the high SES folks butbetter than the low SES folks. Some researchers suggest that SES is the biggest cause of healthoutcomes, such that they call it the fundamental cause theory. In terms of race, we discussed
systemic racism and medical apartheid to understand the historical and contemporary differencesin health treatments and outcomes between white people and people of color. Gender is anotherfactor in health outcomes, such that men are more likely to be treated better than women for thesame health issue, but men are less likely to go to the doctor than women. In addition, womenare more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness compared to men. We also talked abouttrans health outcomes versus cisgender outcomes, and lack of care (historically andcontemporaneously) for LGBTQ+ folks overall.