IMPACT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON HEALTH

  • 07 Pages
  • Published On: 20-11-2023

Introduction

A blend of education, income and occupation is responsible for the socio-economic status of an individual in the society. A person’s socio- economic status reflects his power and control over the society and the privileges he can avail from the society on the basis of his status. There are three levels of socio-economic status i.e. high, middle and low. People belonging to different levels have different lifestyles and their social position have a significant influence in their well-being. In UK, the classification into social grades are on the basis of occupation. There are six social grades that are classified:

health

Very less percentage about approximately 2% belong to higher class in UK. So, all the six grades mentioned above are categorised into two groups one is ABC group considered as middle class and C2DE group considered as working class. This clearly shows that in UK practically there are three groups of people: upper class, middleclass and working class. There is a close relationship between the socioeconomic status and the health consequences of the people belonging to different classes. Differences in socioeconomic status (SES), as assessed by income or educational achievement, are associated with large disparities in health status (Anderson RT et.al 1997). The association between SES and health outcomes persists across the life cycle and across multiple measures of health, including health status, morbidity (Marmot M et.al 2001), mortality (Wong MD et.al 2002), self-assessed health (Marmot MG et.al 1991), and disease prevalence (Apter AJ,1999).

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Impact on health of people belonging to different classes:

  1. Upper class: Upper class: The people belonging to upper classes are those who have significant position in the society. A healthy lifestyle refers to a series of behavioural patterns through which individuals maintain and promote good health based on certain motivations, norms, abilities, and knowledge about what constitutes healthy, stress relieving, or pleasurable behaviours (Cockerham WC et.al 2005). Lifestyle involves both health risk behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, and sedentariness (Morawa E et.al 2018) and health-promoting behaviours, such as physical exercise, interpersonal interaction, stress management, and spiritual growth (Walker SN, et.al 1987). The upper class is the most privileged class in uk through its wealth.
  2. Middle Class:The poorer health of middle-income earners relative to the most affluent is less to do with the absolute amount of income they earn than with their perceived lack of material possessions relative to others, and their anxiety to achieve greater social status. The people of middle class are always in competition for achieving the best in their life. This results in lots of work stress which have adverse effect on their life. Their work condition does not provide them and their family a healthy life style. High demands and low decision control have predicted heart disease in white collar workers (Kuper & Marmot, 2003). Hypertension, diabetes, upper extremity musculoskeletal problems, back problems and cardiovascular disease are the major risk factors associated with work stress. A person overloaded with work cannot spend quality time with their family especially the children are very much effected. It is noticed that the prevalence of stress, depression or anxiety is more in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence. The professional occupations that are common across public service industries (such as healthcare workers; teaching professionals and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs. The social and family support are the key factors that can help a person to maintain well in severe work stress and provide a quality and healthy lifestyle to his family. According to the statistics collected by UK government in 2019/20 in Great Britain it is estimated that 828,000 workers are affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety representing 2,440 per 100,000 workers and results in an estimated 17.9 million working days lost. In 2019/20 work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health and 55% of all days lost due to work-related ill-health.
  3. Working class: The socio-economic status of the working class is very low. A person with low income prefers less healthy lifestyles, eat more fatty foods, smoke more and exercise less than the middle and upper classes. Smoking prevalence among blue collar workers is double that of white-collar workers. This difference may be explained by the additional psychological stressors low income brings (Barbeau, Krieger, & Soobader, 2004; Sorensen, Barbeau, Hunt, & Emmons, 2004). There priority is just to get food but they are not bothered of eating health foods or providing food with high nutritional values for healthy development of their children. This is mainly due to low income but less education is also partially responsible for the health consequences this class are facing. They have less money to spend on a healthy diet, although this is probably rather less important than a lack of knowledge of what is a healthy diet. Job strain has been also shown to increase blood pressure in men of low SES (Landsbergis, Schnall, Pickering, Warren, & Schwartz, 2003). They work in various environmental hazardous condition which is harmful for their health. Most of them belonging to this class are daily worker so they hardly have any health insurance, paid vacation or sick leave. They are always in stress of losing their work which effects their family life. Unemployment not only correlates with distress but also causes it (Karsten & Moser, 2009). The negative effects of unemployment are illustrated by declines in psychological and physical health (Wanberg, 2012)
  4. Conclusion: Healthy life style is very important for getting a quality life. It is observed that the socio-economic status is one of the main factors that is responsible for physical and mental wellbeing of a person in the society. A person from poorer backgrounds or with less education are more likely than others to develop long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease earlier and to experience them more severely. This has become a public health problem all over the world which has to be taken care of by the government of the countries to at least provide health services equally for the people belonging to various socio-economic status. NHS is trying to formulate various policies and strategies to reduce the heath disparity among people of different socio economic status which in turn will reduce the mortality rate which is more prevalent in the lower class society people due to their incapability to access quality health services .But the difference is significant which is effecting the health of the people and it is required to take additional steps to reduce health inequalities and provide health services equally to all the people in the society.
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References:

1. Anderson RT, Sorlie P, Backlund E, Johnson N, Kaplan GA. Mortality effects of community socioeconomic status. Epidemiology. 1997;8(1):42–7.

2. Apter AJ, Reisine ST, Affleck G, Barrows E, ZuWallack RL. The influence of demographic and socioeconomic factors on health-related quality of life in asthma.

3. Barbeau, E. M., Krieger, N., & Soobader, M. (2004). Working class matters: Socioeconomic disadvantage, race/ethnicity, gender, and smoking in NHIS 2000. American Journal of Public Health, 94, 269-278.

4. Cockerham WC Health lifestyle theory and the convergence of agency and structure. J Health Soc Behav. 2005 Mar; 46(1):51-67.

5. Kuper, H., & Marmot, M. (2003). Job strain, job demands, decision latitude, and risk of coronary heart disease within the Whitehall II study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57, 147-153

6. Karsten, P. I., & Moser, K. (2009). Unemployment impairs mental health: Meta-analyses. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74, 264-282.

7. Landsbergis, P. A., Schnall, P. L., Pickering, T. G., Warren, K., & Schwartz, J. E. (2003). Lower socioeconomic status among men in relation to the association between job strain and blood pressure. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 29, 206-215

8. Marmot M, Shipley M, Brunner E, Hemingway H. Relative contribution of early life and adult socioeconomic factors to adult morbidity in the Whitehall II study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2001;55(5):301–7.

9. Marmot MG, Smith GD, Stansfeld S, Patel C, North F, Head J, et al. Health Inequalities among British Civil-Servants - the Whitehall-Ii Study. Lancet. 1991;337(8754):1387–93

10. Morawa E, Erim Y Health-Related Lifestyle Behavior and Religiosity among First-Generation Immigrants of Polish Origin in Germany.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Nov 13; 15(11

11. Sorensen, G., Barbeau, E., Hunt, M. K., & Emmons, K. (2004). Reducing social disparities in tobacco use: A social contextual model for reducing tobacco use among blue-collar workers. American Journal of Public Health, 94, 230-239

12. Wong MD, Shapiro MF, Boscardin WJ, Ettner SL. Contribution of major diseases to disparities in mortality. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(20):1585–92.


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