Week 11 notes
Week 11 notes Sociology 100
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kirsten Swikert on Friday April 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Sociology 100 at Western Kentucky University taught by Dr. James Kanan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Introductory Sociology in Sociology at Western Kentucky University.
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Date Created: 04/29/16
Health and Healthcare • Big questions o What does it mean to be healthy? o What is “healthcare” and when/where should it begin/end? o Whom should be responsible for “adequate” healthcare? o What should be the criteria for access to “adequate” healthcare? • Definitions o Health: the extent of a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being o Healthcare system: the social institution that seeks to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness and to promote health in its various dimensions § World Health Organization defines it as “all activities whose primary purpose is to promote, restore, or maintain health” • Why talk about healthcare? o Healthcare system is one of the major institutions in society o All people will interact with this institution at some point in their lives o Healthcare system plays significant role in well-being, which is an important point of interest to social scientists o Sociology focus is less about explaining why someone becomes sick, than addressing the following: § What does it mean to be sick and who decides? § Why is disease not experienced evenly across society? § How does social position affect health and healthcare experience? • Understanding the health and healthcare system: Functionalism o Views health problems as a dysfunction for society o Societal response is “sick role”- appropriate behavior patterns for people who are ill § Sick people are permitted to withdraw temporarily from their other roles § Sick people are expected to define their condition as undesirable and to seek and follow competent advice to get better • Health and socioeconomic status (SES) o Social status and health relationship is consistent found across time and place, higher status means better health o Theory of fundamental causes § Higher SES people have greater access to knowledge, money, power, and social connections § SES gives people the ability to make use of knowledge about how to improve one’s health • SES: Education o Education has a direct effect on health, it improves self-governing behaviors o Better health behaviors of more educated explains 40% of their health advantage • SES: Wealth and Income o More income can purchase more nutritious food, safer environments, and better medical care for children o Family income effects on child health increases over time o Effects are largest for poorest: they are in far worse health • Race, gender, and health o Blacks have worse health outcomes than whites § Differences more likely to reflect SES differences than racial differences § The experience of discrimination and racism can produce stress, which is bad for health § Some evidence from research that people of color receive lower-quality health care o Gender and the “morbidity paradox”- women live longer (about 5 years) but have more illnesses § Men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors • Economics of healthcare o Healthcare spending is a major part of the US economy § The US spends about $2.7 trillion annually, up more than 500% since 1980 § US ranks #1 among organization cooperation and development o US spends about 2.5 times more than the OECD country average § If we spent the average, we’d save $1.5 trillion per year o Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the US government was already covering about 46% of the US health care costs • Is US healthcare ththbest? o US ranks 27 in life expectancy and near the bottom third of (OECD) countries for mortality from disease and injury o Healthcare spending and efficiency o In 2000 the World Health Organization tried to rank the world’s best healthcare systems § In their summary, the US was 15 in overall performance (health measures) and 1 in expenditures per capita, giving us an overall ranking of 37 o Are we really that bad? § We are better than average in areas like cancer care and acute care in hospitals § We are worse than average in primary care (doctors per capita, initial contacts, consultations, etc) which leads to higher, costly admissions for avoidable diseases Age and Aging • Gerontology: the study of the human aspects of aging o Interdisciplinary area that focuses on things like the physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age • Social gerontology highlights the social aspects of aging o Examined how the physical, mental, and social changes in aging people affects the people, groups, and societies around them Four Dimensions of Age and Aging • Chronological aging o Measured as years from birth o Life expectancy (the average length of life) is an important statistic • Biological aging o Physical changes associated with growing older • Psychological aging o Focus on mental functioning and personality changes that are associated with the aging process • Social aging o Examines how roles and relationships change with age o At which age does “sexiness” end for men/women? Rethinking Age and Aging • Current ways of conceptualizing age may be “outdated” o Current indicators of old age: proportion of the population 65+, old-age dependency ratio (# of people over 65: those 24-64), median age • “New” ideas o People have 2 ages: chronological and prospective (remaining life expectancy) o Instead of “old-age dependency ratio” use old age threshold (potential old-age dependency ratio) Population Pyramid • An important tool that provides information about the proportion of males and females in different age groups
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