Social Hierarchy And Health Maintenance

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Social Hierarchy and Health Maintenance The studies of socioeconomic differences in health reveal a consistent gradient in disease and death according to the social rank. People belonging to higher social classes enjoy better health than those in lower positions. Finding also show that social hierarchy may affect people’s health in many ways. Some of them are discussed in the following. Firstly, people at the top of the social hierarchy live better and healthier material lives than those lower in hierarchy. The article Life at the Top in America Isn’t Just Better, It’s Longer (Scott, 2005) gives a detailed comparison among the upper-middle class, the middle class and the working class. Rich people enjoy better living environment and working environment. They can afford advanced medical treatment and effective exercise program. They even have healthier and more balanced diet than the poor, who often eat junk food because it is delicious and affordable. Secondly, individuals of higher socioeconomic status own more non-material resources than those with lower status. As is discussed in class, studies show that higher income and education have also been found to be associated with larger networks, more contact with network members, and more voluntary associations. Therefore they may own more non-material resources such as social control, social influence and social support. All of them are very important in dealing with various stresses and maintaining good health. In the documentary Unnatural Causes, both of the clean worker and the CEO are faced with stress from jobs. Apparently the CEO has more control over the stressful situation and can dispose of the problem very quickly. However, the cleaner has almost no control over his job. Consequently he may suffer from prolonged exposure to stress and repeated fight-or-flight response of the body. That may lead to many

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