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Sociology Factsheet: 07. Social Differences in Health

  • Sociology Factsheet: 07. Social Differences in Health

Sociology Factsheet: 07. Social Differences in Health

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  • Code: SOA-FSPI-007
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    Defining Health, According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity’. Dubos and Pines extend this definition ‘Good health may mean different things to an astronaut and to a fashion model, to a lumberjack and to a member of the stock exchange. Their ways of life require different levels of physical activity; their food requirements and stresses vary, and they are not equally vulnerable to all diseases’. As health is a relative concept, what it means and how it is recognised varies both between and within societies. Therefore, within any one society individuals differ in their thresholds of discomfort and their tolerance of pain, in their readiness to define certain symptoms as indicative of sickness and in their ideas about ‘appropriate’ responses to a particular sickness. The same applies cross-culturally. Societies differ in the levels of discomfort and pain which are accepted as normal. Different societies may also interpret similar symptoms very differently.