Exploring the Socioeconomic Determinants of Health and Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing are described differently by many authors and organizations. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as the condition in which a person has complete physical, social and mental wellbeing (WHO, 2010). Society has a potential impact on health and wellbeing of individuals. There are many socioeconomic factors that are considered as the potential determinants of health and wellbeing of people ( Panayotou, 2016). These factors are, poverty, age, gender, social class, ethnicity and disability. The ability of an individual for having the good health and wellbeing is highly dependent on these socio economic factors. These socioeconomic factors are strongly associated with social inclusion and empowerment in a society. Social inclusion can be defined as the process in which equal facilities and support are provided to every resident of a society irrespective of the race, ethnicity, caste, social class, gender, age and religion of that individual (Solt (2016). These above-mentioned socioeconomic factors determine whether the individual of a social group would maintain a healthy lifestyle and positive wellbeing. This essay will first define the two social groups: women and homeless people in terms of their position and power in the society. Then this essay will discuss that what impacts the above-mentioned four socioeconomic factors have on the health and wellbeing of these two social groups. Then the essay will discuss the experiences of these two groups, in which it discusses the differences that these two groups present in their health and wellbeing needs in the society. Here the essay will present an evidence based discussion on how gender, social class, ethnicity and poverty impact on the way these two groups receive health and social care from the society and how they live their lives. In this section this essay will also discuss how these two groups experience social exclusion and marginalization. Then thus essay will discuss two important sociological theories such as Marxism and functionalism in terms presenting the in-depth analysis of the concept of the health and wellbeing. By using these theories, this essay will demonstrate the experiences that women and homeless people in the society. Finally, this essay will discuss how, advocacy, empowerment, anti-oppressive practice and social justice impact on women and homeless people in relation with their health and wellbeing.


The two important social groups: women and homeless people, who experience wide ranges of impacts of difference socioeconomic factors in society such as gender, social class, poverty and ethnicity (Cornia et al. 2017). Women form the most important group in the society that includes only people who are biologically females. On the other hand homeless people are categorized as the people who primary do not have permanent shelter therefore they live in street or having temporary shelters (King, 2016). The above-mentioned four socioeconomic factors impact differently on these two social groups in relation to their health and wellbeing. These factors potential ally impact the distribution of social resources, social faculties, quality of life and health distribution in the society.

Women face gender stereotyping and gender related bias in terms of receiving healthcare facilities, education, social support, care and respect. The discrimination and bias regarding provide the health with a social care facilities to women in relation to the ethnicity, gender, social class and employment status impact adversely on their physical and psychological wellbeing, quality of living, emotional wellbeing and cognitive skill. As mentioned by Van Velthoven et al. (2018), in the UK there are many cases in which women are more like to have depressive symptoms and mental health condition as compared to male peers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, women who belong to the lower social class and delivered community are more likes to face depressive symptom and psychological disorders in their post-partum condition as compared to their rich peers. The reason behind this differences is considered to be associated with the health inequalities, poor resources delivery and the lack of proper health and social care facilities available to poor women. As mentioned by Panayotou (2016) women belonging to poverty and lower social class are more likely to be exposed in the gender bias and stereotyping. The report from ONS (2018) shows that, as compared to 13% male in the England more than 24% female live with depression and anxiety. May studies have suggested that, women who reside in the deprived and low income families are generally treated unequally, in which women have to face restriction in accessing the health and social care facilities, education, foods and nutrition (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2018). PHE (2019) mentioned that many cases of the post-partum depression and premature delivery are registered in NHS hospitals which are strongly associated with the social malpractices and physical as well as mental torture that women receive in their family and society. As mentioned by (0, discrimination due to gender is very common in poor ethnic communities in the UK. Evidence suggest that many poor South Asian families which reside in rural and suburban region in England and Wales, do not receive proper mental , physical and mental support to the women which result to poor physical and mental health condition of them. As mentioned by Cornia et al. (2017), more than 45% women aged 30-50 years have high risk of cardiovascular illness and coronary arterial disease, which is due to their irregular lifestyle, lack of health education and poor mental and know quality food intake. In deprived families in the UK, many women do not receive nutritious foods, care and proper rest after their delivery which leads to develop health complication them. As mentioned by Schneider (2016), many cases of the premature child birth have been registered in ethnic families in the UK, in which women are provided with proper medical and health care support, nutritional support, medical support and rest to the pregnant women. Women with rested in rural and interiors areas in UK in the ethnic community or lower social class, are reported to face lack of jobs family support, partner’s support and proper care, which developed depression and physical health issues in them ((Van Velthoven et al. 2018). On the other hand, women who reside in the ethnic minority community and slower social class are unable to afford the high quality foods, goo living standard and a systematic life, which impacts adversely on their ability to perform the activities of daily living are as compared to women, in the poor families women are more likely to suffer from the mental health condition such as anxiety and depression.

Ethnicity, gender, social class and poverty also determines the quality of health and social care and the amount health resources that women will receive in their society. As mentioned by Arias-de la Torre et al. (2018), ethnic women are more likely to face health inequalities and social exclusion in the society due to poor economic condition, low social class and lack of jobs as compared to UK-born women. As mentioned by Cai et al. (2017), many women who resides in poor and ethnic community reported to have lower job opportunities and poorer quality of the health and social care as compared to the UK-born peers. Women belonging to a deprived and ethnic community are reported to wait long in the queue for meeting to a general practitioners or have to face aggressive and rude behavior of doctors and other health care staffs. Many women who are from below poverty level experiences social exclusion, bully, discrimination in relation receives the heart resources, care and support from the society, which not only impacts o their physical wellbeing but also hurt their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Like women, homeless people also experiences wide ranges of impacts due to ethnicity, poverty, gender and social class. As mentioned by homeless people are who live on the streets and experience lack of health and safety as they are highly vulnerable to accident and injuries. Evidence also suggest that homeless people are neglected, avoided and bullied in the society which leads them to face high level of marginalization and social exclusion. On the contrary Newton et al. (2017) mentioned that, although homeless people receive social exclusion, their ethnicity, gender, social class and the level of poverty decides the amount of health resources and quality of social support they would receive. It is evident that as compared to homeless men, homeless women are more like to experiences social malpractices such as physical assault, rape, human trafficking, murder and exploitation (Ruiz-Pérez et al. 2017). Ethnicity also potentially impacts the way homeless women are treated in the society. Anecdotal evidence suggest that women belonging to the African and South Asian community are more likely to suffer from health inequality and social exclusion as compared to their UK born peers. The ONS (2018) report shows that, more than 18% of the homeless women belong to the Indian and Bangladeshi community suffer from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders as compared to only 9% of UK-both homeless women (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2018). On the contrary Radevic et al. (2016) argue that both the homeless men and women experiences high level of health inequality and poor health and social care support as compared to the UK-born peers. Many studies suggest that, among homeless people, majority of the governmental facilities and social and heather support are preserved for UK-born individuals as compared to the ethnic people. For example, as compared to the ethnic monitory homeless people, the UK-born homeless people are more likely to get the privileges of having good asylum with good education health care and nutritional support.

Social class and poverty also play crucial roles on determining the level of care and support the homeless people will receive in the society. As mentioned by (), although all homeless people belonging lower economic condition, the differences of the severity or intensity of poverty determine the amount of health resources and quality of health are facilities they will receive. For example as compared to the homeless people who have temporary resident such as their relative’s house or friends’ house get more health and social care support as compared to homeless people who reside in the streets. Evidence suggest, the homeless people who resides in the street experiences neglect, avoidance and exclusion in the society as compared to their peers who have temporary shelter. Moreover, homeless people live on street, are more likely to suffer from different chronic illness such as COPD, lung cancer, strike, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary illness (Simandan, 2018). As compared to homeless men, homeless women are more vulnerable to physical harm, abuse mental and emotional harm. Poor implementation of the health and social care regulation in rural and urban areas, make the homeless people residing in these areas face sever health inequalities.

As mentioned by Radevic et al. (2016), ethnicity, poverty and gender also determine the death rate and survival rate of homeless people In the UK. Evidence suggest that as compared to homeless people having temporarily house, the people who resides on the stress are more likely to face premature death due to road accident food poison, chronic illness and different infections. This is because, homeless people residing in street are more vulnerable to difference communicable Illness which are spread through the body fluid of infected persons (Oversveen et al. 2017). In this context, as compared to homeless people having temporary house, the homeless people residing on street are more likely to be exposed to bacterial and fungal infection which can cause lethal health condition.

Different sociological theories are conceived in different times for presenting the clear link between society and health of people. There are three major sociological perspectives of health such as functionalist approach, conflict approach and interpretivism approach (Oversveen et al. (2017). Functionalist approach emphasizes on how to maintain social equilibrium, social order and stability in the human society. Functionalists believe that, through maintaining a normal social order within a society it is possible to maintain health and wellbeing of people. Functionalist approach believes in realism, which demonstrate that everything that is presenting the society are real and have potential impact on the health and wellbeing on people. In this context, the physical and mental health problem and interaction with social classes and orders are real. Functionalist approach highlight the fact that good health and high quality medical care to person is important for maintaining the normal function of a society, as mentioned by Cai et al. (2017), Functionalist approach highlights that sickness can leads to the poor returns in the society which is nor relevant to what society needs (Arias-de la Torre et al. 2018). The people residing in the society must be healthy and active to perform their social roles thereby maintaining the social equilibrium. Based on this approach, if any person gets sick, that he or she must perform the sick roles that are necessary to male they enable to receive facilities and care the needs for improving their health and wellbeing.

Based on the Functionalist approach, the two social groups, women and homeless people must perform their sick roles to receive the necessary health and social care support from their society. Functionalists believe that is a person is proved to be legitimately ill, the he or she receives the care and support from the society they the person needs to meeting holistic wellbeing. For being considered as legitimately ill, women and homeless people must performs some sick roes. Firstly, women and homeless people must not perceived as they create their heath condition. This means, the women r the timeless people who develop their poor heath by not following systematic lifestyles and healthy living standard will receive less social support as compared to the women and homeless people who try desperately to lead a healthy and systematic live and then also gets sick. As mentioned by Newton et al. (2017), Functionalist approach is based on the concept that, society will raking care and support only these people who would try to contribute to maintain a normal function of the society by improving their health a wellbeing.

Based ON Functionalist approach, while it comes to determine the impact of social inequalities and social resources the women and homeless people, it is importance to determine the contribution of the sick people to their treatment and wellbeing (Newton et al. 2017). Functionalist approach believes that sick person must contribute to own treatment and care process to get well soon. Women from the marginalized and deprived society must take initiatives to inform the health and social condition to the local health and social care authority to get the necessary support, similarly homeless people must inform local governmental official regarding their health and safety needs which will enable them to get the necessary facility. Women from marginalized groups must go to the local Health services executive (HSE) to get the necessary healthcare support.

Marxist approach presents the contradictory discussion to the Functionalist approach. The Marxist approach is concerned with two major types of social classes such as worker class and bourgeoisie (Ruiz-Pérez et al. 2017). Working class includes the poor and marginalized people in the society who suffer from health inequalities and or healthcare support and Bourgeoisies are the rich people who are mentioned as the “owner” of the society who have both the power and position in the society.

Marxist approach emphasizes on evaluating the impact that social determinants have on the health of the society people. Based on this approach, the ability of being healthy is determines by many social factors such as social class, race, ethnicity, age and social background (Simandan, 2018). People who belong to the disadvantaged social background are more likely to develop illness. This approach highlight how social class are associated with the amount of health resources received by society people. In tic context, women residing on the marginalized and poor society belonging to the working class which would not receive the proper social and health care support thereby suffering from different communication and non-communicable illness. Similarly the homeless people are more likely to receive the poor health care facilities that makes them more vulnerable to premature death, mortality and morbidity as compared to those having permanent shelters (Radevic et al. 2016). Based on Marxist approach, as women belonging to the ethnic minority community and margined groups have disadvantaged social background they are more likely to be exposed to social exclusion as compared to their richer peers.

Marxists also highlights the relationship between the working class and bourgeoisies. Based on this approach, working people work under bourgeoisies and help bourgeoisies to get the profits (Simandan, 2018). Therefore, the function of working class is necessary for bourgeoisies to gain more capital thereby improving the socioeconomic condition of the entire society. This perspectives can be applied in case of women and homeless people while discussing their e position and health care facilities in the society. Base Marxist approach, in women and homeless people must be active and healthy to maintain the functionality which enables the bourgeoisies to maintain their normal functions. In this context the health inequalities and the social exclusion that leads to poor health of women and homeless people also hurt the socioeconomic position of the nation thereby interfere with the function ability of the entire society.

Social advocacy, empowerment and social inclusion are the effective strategies that can be used to maintain normal social functioning by implementing heath equality in the society (Radevic et al. 2016). Social advocacy and empowerment, are associated with developing self-management skill, providing health education to marginalized and deprived people in terms of improving their control on their own health and wellbeing of women, the health education, awareness campaign, formal education, employment and free health checkups, are important aspect of promoting health equality and empowerment. On the other hand, homeless people must be provided with proper shelter in which they will not only have healthy living environment but also have good food and nutritional which will improves their positive health.

From the above-mentioned discussion it can be concluded that, health and wellbeing of people are associated with different social determinants such as gender, race ethnicity, poverty and social class. These socioeconomic aspect determine whether the people residing in the society will receives fair and equal health and social care facilities. Women and homeless people are two most vulnerable social group that experiences wide ranges of impacts of these social economic determinants. Through provide better health education job opportunities, housing facilities, free health checkups and social support it is possible to reduce the gaps in healthcare facilities in different social groups.

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Reference list:

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