ASS072-1 Introduction To Health And Social Care

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ASS072-1 Introduction To Health And Social Care

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ASS072-1 Introduction To Health And Social Care

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Course Code: ASS0721
University: University Of Bedfordshire

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Country: United Kingdom


You must choose ONE of the following essay titles/topics:
1.Using examples, discuss the ways in which a person’s socio-economic class and his/her social situation can have an impact of his/her health.
2.Feminists argue that gender stereotyping and medicalisation have historically had a negative impact on women’s health. Discuss.
3.To what extent have constructions of masculinity and gender stereotyping impacted on men’s health?
4.Access to health and social care services in the UK is not equitable. Critically discuss this argument in relation to one of the following: black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, gender, age or disability.
5.Compare and contrast the psychosocial and the biomedical models of health and illness.
6.Discuss in what ways the dying process has been medicalised and commodified in Western societies.
Your essay should include:
Your chosen title
An introduction which tells the reader what the aims and objectives of the essay are and an overview of the themes you will be discussing.
A first paragraph in which you define the key terms used in your essay
The main body of your essay in paragraph format
A conclusion where you draw the threads of your discussion together and show how you have addressed your aims and objectives.
You will be expected to draw on parts of at least six academic/peer-reviewed sources (that is academic books or academic journals) to support your discussion to pass. Of this minimum of six sources, only one can be an Internet source and the six does not include lecture notes.  The six is a minimum; students are encouraged to carry out wider reading.
Written expression is an important element of good written communication, so try to write clearly and accurately. Also put yourself in the position of the audience and asking yourself whether someone coming to your work ‘cold’ would be able to follow your train of thought. Proof read your work before handing it in and/or ask a trusted person to read it through for you.


The socioeconomic status (SES) is the sociological and economic amount of people’s work experience and their social position. Furthermore, the socioeconomic situation is analyzed based on a person’s income, educational level, occupation, and their attributes.  The socioeconomic status is divided into three sections which include the high, middle low level (Marian 2002). The essay discusses the determinants of the socioeconomic situation and ways in which socioeconomic class or socioeconomic situation impacts people’s health.
Determinants of Socioeconomic Situation or Status  
 Income is earned in wages, rents, salaries, and profits. Furthermore, it is obtained through employment, pensions, social security, dividends, trusts, royalties or government assistance. Income is a standard measure of socioeconomic status because of it more comfortable to figure it out in most individuals. Income inequality is prevalent in the world. Low-income communities emphasize meeting the most pressing needs; they do not save wealth or income for their future generations. Therefore, the income inequality of people in society has increased over the years (Blumenthal & Jessica 2002).
High socioeconomic families put more emphasis on education, and it is perceived to be more critical such families. In poor households, more priority is placed on safety, shelter, and food.  Young people are prone to many social problems and health problems in the United Kingdom because of their status in society. They face issues such as drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, and obesity (Blumenthal & Jessica 2002).
Low education levels and income levels have been shown to impact and act as reliable predictors of many mental and physical health problems such as arthritis, respiratory viruses, schizophrenia, and coronary disease. The socio-economic problems can be as a result of environmental conditions at the workplace, or due to a person’s social predicament in case of mental illnesses. Income affects education. Earnings increase in each level of education. Higher levels of education cause better psychological and economic outcomes (Anandale 2014).
An occupation is the reflection of educational attainment, which a person can use to get a job and propel. Also, it affects the social position of a person, the ability to make and control decisions and psychological demands of a person (Blumenthal & Jessica 2002).
Income, Education, and Occupation as Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Diseases.
The socioeconomic status of a person is one of the consistent predictors of morbidity and mortality, a result that is consistent with most diseases and various risk factors associated with multiple conditions. Furthermore, income reflects the spending power, diet, housing, and medical care of a person. The occupation of a person measures their responsibility, prestige, work exposures, and physical activity. Education measures skills require psychological, social and other economic resources (Blumenthal & Jessica 2002).
According to studies conducted by Michelle, Cary & Ninez (2018), the socioeconomic status operates using many mechanisms to affect diseases. Education may be the most critical determinant which is available to everyone regardless of whether they have high validity, reliability than occupation or income.
A study conducted by Marian (2002), reports that out of the 23 potential contributors to morbidity, age and sexes were related to both, and they indicated survival with proper function. Studies conducted on cardiovascular diseases suggest that lower levels of education initiate hypertension, smoking cigarettes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.
Health and socioeconomic status
 Economic inequality is caused by differences in income, occupation, and education. Moreover, socioeconomic disparities affect the general health outlook of a person. The socioeconomic status has always been associated with the health of a person. For example, people in high social hierarchy enjoy better health than those in the low social authority (Blumenthal & Jessica 2002).
 Also, a strong positive correlation exists between health and the socioeconomic status of a person. The relationship indicates that it is not only the poor that get unwell when compared to everyone. However, there is a continuous gradient that relates to a person’s health from the top to the bottom of the social-economic ladder (David & Adriana 2008).
 People in the low socioeconomic status cannot afford many healthcare resources provided in hospitals. Therefore, their children and dependents in many cases have advanced cases of illnesses due to the lack of treatment. The low socioeconomic status is related to the following diseases. For instance, chronic stress, ulcers, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cancers, and premature aging (Nettleton,  2013).
 Furthermore, researchers are conducting studies to assess the relationship between death rates and the socioeconomic status because of the presence of significant financial resources among the wealthy. However, the researchers found little correlation because of social status differences (Nettleton, 2013).
The social, economic status affects the health of a person even when they have enough financial resources or access to healthcare. The Whitehall studies done among civil servants in London reported that there was a low correlation between health and social care even though the civil servants had the same access to healthcare. The study revealed that the association was stable even when a person controlled habits which affect health such as exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Moreover, the likelihood of getting rheumatoid arthritis or type two diabetes could not be decreased by any form of medical attention yet both diseases are common in lower socioeconomic status populations (Darrel, Roza & Michael 2018).
Education as a strong predictor of health.
 Adler & Ostrove (2009), report that education is a strong predictor of health than income or education. Several mechanisms in which knowledge can positively impact health have been proposed. Some studies indicate that higher education improves health by supporting economic advantages.
Training protects against diseases by enhancing problem-solving values, abilities and lifestyle behaviors. Furthermore, knowledge impacts a person with positive social, economic and psychological skills that protect from adverse influences. The capabilities can accompany higher attainments in education such as positive approaches towards health and the access to preventive health services. Furthermore, through education, a person can join groups that encourage the appreciation of positive health behaviors and build high self-esteem (Adler & Ostrove 2009).
The Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Stress.
According to the American Psychological Association (2018), the socioeconomic status of a person affects their health. Furthermore, the association proposes that when a person is low in the social hierarchy, the person has a high chance of poor health. Low socioeconomic status has an impact on personal psychology which leads to chronic stress due to shame.
Stress is a person’s response to a disturbance that occurs on the outer or the inner environment. The brain is responsible for weight other parts respond to physiological stress while other parts respond to social threats. Stress activates pathways in the brain such as the periaqueductal gray and hypothalamus which trigger changes in the heart rate, inflammation, blood pressure, glucose levels, and freeze response (American Psychological Association 2018).
  Chronic stress is more extreme and is caused by social judgment by others. It leads to changes in the body such as heart rate, sugar levels, glucose levels, and fat deposits. These changes lead to arrhythmias, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, and diabetes. Chronic stress leads to pathological conditions that shorten life (Anandale 2014).
Chronic stress and the nervous system.
SES leads to chronic stress which causes inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, inflammation has a significant role in modern-day illnesses. The inflammation of the arterial wall causes cardiovascular diseases, the inflammation of various tissues causes cancers, and swelling of the brain causes infections of the central nervous such as Alzheimer’s disease (Barry & Yull 2016).
However, stress is an inflammatory mechanism. Stress leads to a rise in cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone which reduces inflammation. When cortisol is increased, the receptors become less active. When cortisol levels decrease, due to the low stress, the receptors remain downregulated for some time. Low cortisol levels, in down-regulated cortisol receptors, leads to a reduced anti-inflammatory effect. Therefore, a pro-inflammatory situation of stress system is activated. The pro-inflammatory condition causes the beginning of inflammation that causes inflammatory diseases (Barry & Yull 2016).
According to, the Medicare program in the United States, Blacks, and beneficiaries of lower socioeconomic stats use fewer health promotion services and preventative services such as mammography and influenza immunizations than Whites and beneficiaries of higher socioeconomic status. Furthermore, they use fewer common surgical procedures such as CABG and fewer diagnostic tests, for example, colonoscopy. Moreover, people in the low socioeconomic status use types of a process associated with poor chronic diseases management such as amputation of limbs and debridement (Barry & Yull 2016).
The socioeconomic situation of people negatively impacts their health. In most cases, these people have inadequate access to healthcare services. Furthermore, they prefer low-quality services. Therefore, in most instances, people from low social status have advanced forms of diseases in their bodies. People in the socioeconomic status have access to poor health due to low income, low levels of education and unrewarding occupations as compared to people in the high socioeconomic status. Governments should strive to support people from the low socioeconomic cadre and help them access better healthcare services like their counterparts in the higher social state.

Adler, N & Ostrove, J 2009. Socioeconomic status and health: What we know and what we don’t. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 896(1), pp. 3-15.
American Psychological Association 2018. Work, Stress and Health and Socioeconomic status. [Online]. Available at [Accessed on 17 Nov. 2018].
Anandale , E. (2014)  The sociology of health and medicine; a critical introduction, 2nd, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Barry A.M. & Yull, C. (2016) Understand the sociology of Health: an introduction, 4th London: Sage
Blumenthal & Jessica, K 2002.  The effects of Socioeconomic Status on Health in Rural and Urban America. JAMA, 287(1), p. 109.
Darrel, J, Roza, V & Michael, M 2018.  The Maryland Health Enterprise Zone Initiative Reduced Hospital Costs and utilization in Underserved communities. Determinants of Health. 37 (10), p.29.
David, BM & Adriana, JR 2008. Socioeconomic status and health dimensions and mechanisms. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research Publishers.
Marian, G 2002. Measuring the effects of socioeconomic status on healthcare. [Online]. Available on [Accessed on 19 Nov. 2018.]
Michelle, KJ, Cary, SN & Ninez, P 2018. Managing Diversity to eliminate disparities: A framework for health. Health Inequity, 37(80), p.72.
Nettleton, S. ( 2013) The sociology of health and illness,3rd, Cambridge; Polity Press.

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