Sociology in Health

2408 Words10 Pages
The aim of this essay is to examine the influence that socio-economic status has on an individual’s health. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 1948.) Social stratification is a term which describes a hierarchy of society, divided into different levels with the most powerful at the top (O’Donnell, 2005.) Anthony Giddens (2001) defines social class as a “large-scale grouping of people who share common economic resources, which strongly influence the type of lifestyle they are able to lead.” (p.282) The Registrar-General’s Social Classification (RGSC) scale was devised to measure social class according to an individual’s occupation. It consists of 6 levels, with social class V including unskilled labourers, VI partly skilled, IIIM skilled manual, IIIN skilled non-manual, II Managerial and social class I consisting of professional occupations (O’Donnell, 2005.) In the RGSC scale married women were classed under their husband’s/partner’s occupation, whist children were classed under their fathers occupation (Philpin 2010.)The scale was used from 1911 to 2000, after a review in 1994 a new scale was implemented – the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) (O’Donnell, 2005.) The new scale took into account changes in society, the new nature of work and also acknowledged the long-term unemployed and those who had never worked (Annadale & Field, 2007.) The seven classes in the NS-SEC scale are based on an individuals supervisory duties and job responsibilities which includes degree of control over the pace and content of work (Annadale & Field, 2007.) The Labour Government published a report in 1980 – the Inequalities in Health Report known as the ‘Black Report.’ Using the RGSC scale this report identified and highlighted inequalities in health.
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