Social Variations in Health and Illness: Exploring Sociological Perspectives Assignment Sample

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Task 1: Comparing and contrasting several sociological perspectives in regards to health and illness

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While health and illness are considered to be the part of social construction, it also addresses the complete wellbeing of health in the form of physical, mental and emotional states (Lee et al. 2022). Health in sociological aspects consists of three primary categories which are functionalism along with conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. While functionalism refers to accessing good health and effective medical care process, the conflict theory sheds light on the quality of health along with the overall quality of the healthcare system (Van Druten et al. 2022). This is followed by highlighting physical and mental health conditions in terms of addressing the symbolic interactions. These three sociological perspectives are contemplated to play a crucial role while analysing the social and cultural reasons for disease and illnesses (Hellman et al. 2022). These perspectives also help in identifying information in regards to the onset of issues along with preventing measurements and managing disease prevention.

Sociological perspectives on health and illness

While functionalism refers to good health and effective medical care, it is significant for smooth functioning of society (Alvehus and Hallonsten, 2022). This is followed by understanding the population health conditions in the category of sick and legitimately ill with the aim of maintaining the hierarchical relationship between patients and physicians. This approach is effective in terms of understanding the ill health concept for the population in the form of premature death, poor health and inability to perform social duties (Liu et al. 2022).

Besides, conflict theory explains the dominant group in society that makes decisions and accesses a proper healthcare system due to the presence of money and power (Adamopoulos, 2022). This approach ensures the coverage of healthcare along with the role of subordinate groups in terms of reducing the adverse impact of illness and ensuring quality care. Social inequalities are characterised in this approach while shedding light on the quality of the health and healthcare (Zheng et al. 2022). This also addresses unequal distribution of power and money in social backgrounds that elevates the chance of ill health. It also critiquing the role of physicians while controlling the practice of medicine and working on the quality of the healthcare.

Perspectives Functionalism and conflict theory
Similarities Functionalism is similar to conflict theory in terms of sensing the uneven distribution of power which explains the structural context of the society (Alvehus and Hallonsten, 2022). In addition, it also explains the role of power and money in terms of impacting on ill health while requiring changes in socialisation. Besides, both approaches explain the survival of individuals in society through hurdles for an improved health quality while maintaining society structure.
Differentiation While functionalism emphasises on the importance of social stability, the conflict theory sheds light on the social inequalities (Li, 2022). Besides, functionalism explains the whole working system in the form of society while prioritising healthy lifestyle, the conflict theory explains the quality of the working system that has an impactful impact on the individual health and illness (Ayisi and Krisztina, 2022).

Table 1: Sociological perspectives on health and illness


  • Adamopoulos, I.P., 2022. Job satisfaction in the public health care sector, measures scales and theoretical background. European Journal of Environment and Public Health, 6(2), p.em0116.
  • Alvehus, J. and Hallonsten, O., 2022. Institutional Logics and Functionalist Differentiation Theory: Challenges and pathways forward. Organization Theory, 3(3), p.26317877221109276.
  • Alvehus, J. and Hallonsten, O., 2022. Institutional Logics and Functionalist Differentiation Theory: Challenges and pathways forward. Organization Theory, 3(3), p.26317877221109276.
  • Ayisi, D.N. and Krisztina, T., 2022. Gender Roles and Gender Differences Dilemma: An Overview of Social and Biological Theories. Journal of Gender, Culture and Society, 2(1), pp.51-56.
  • Hellman, M., Egerer, M., Stoneham, J., Forberger, S., Männistö-Inkinen, V., Ochterbeck, D. and Rundle, S., 2022. Addiction and the brain: Knowledge, beliefs and ethical considerations from a social perspective. Springer Nature.
  • Lee, M.T., McNeely, E., Weziak-Bialowolska, D., Ryan, K.A., Mooney, K.D., Cowden, R.G. and VanderWeele, T.J., 2022. Demographic predictors of complete well-being. BMC Public Health, 22(1), p.1687.
  • Li, S., 2022. Comparison Study on Vocational College Web Profiles from the Perspective of Functionalist Translation Theory. Lifelong Education, 10(3), pp.31-34.
  • Liu, J., Huang, J. and Li, H., 2022. How Can the Modern Chinese Family Retirement Function Be Separated and Sustainable?. Sustainability, 14(15), p.9443.
  • Van Druten, V.P., Bartels, E.A., Van de Mheen, D., De Vries, E., Kerckhoffs, A.P.M. and Nahar-van Venrooij, L.M.W., 2022. Concepts of health in different contexts: A scoping review. BMC Health Services Research, 22(1), pp.1-21.
  • Zheng, G., Lyu, X., Pan, L. and Chen, A., 2022. The role conflict-burnout-depression link among Chinese female health care and social service providers: the moderating effect of marriage and motherhood. BMC public health, 22(1), pp.1-13

Task 2: Slideshow

Slide 1: Title page

Existing evidence of social variations in health and illness in society

Slide 2: Background

The following context is intended to address social variation of health and illness while focusing on given the case studies. Jo's family represents the inequalities of social variation alongside its impact on health and illness of family members and Annabel's family highlights the opposite of social aspects while receiving proper healthcare

Slide 3: Social variations in health and illness in society

There are eight social determinants that have an impact on the health and illness of an individual alongside social class and household income. This includes family, friends and community, money and resources, housing, education and skills (Doyal, 2022). It also includes employment capability, availability of transportation alongside physical surroundings and access to food.

Slide 4: Risk factors of social inequalities in health

While gender impact on exposure towards work injuries, alcoholism and behavioural risk, it also shows the presence of social inequalities in health. The present gender employment gap is 6.7% (, 2023). Here, Jo is suffering from unemployment, alcohol and drug usage alongside facing issues of literacy and accessing food. Besides, ethnicity and socioeconomic differences cause inequalities due to incapabilities of accessing livelihood aspects (Eneanya et al. 2022).

Slide 5: Risk factors of social inequalities in health (Conti..)

Uneven distribution of wealth and social variations impact on increasing inequalities between social classes and that triggers loneliness and social isolation (Garcia, 2022). In the following case study, while uneven distribution of wealth leads to Jo having no food and jobs, Annabel's family is wealthy enough to meet the livelihood status.

Slide 6: Risk factors of social inequalities in health (Conti..)

Employment is considered a linking factor in terms of maintaining health equality in society (Slemon et al. 2022). While unequal distribution of income and job opportunities impact on poor health, accessing those helps in improving the quality of life (Jackson and Engelman, 2022). Similar context has been identified in the given case studies of Jo and Annabel.

Slide 7: Risk factors of social inequalities in health (Conti..)

Social stratification refers to the access towards resources alongside power, autonomy and status in the society (Grant et al. 2022). This factor also addresses and even access of resources alongside distribution which impact on social inequality. While Jo has no income, private housing and inadequate health facilities, Annabel has jobs, social security with proper health accessibility.

Slide 8: Risk factors of social inequalities in health (Conti..)

Limited resources and poverty impact on the ability to cover basic requirements along with health context to maintain the wellbeing (Ladwig et al. 2022). The same reason Jo's children are suffering from asthma, impetigo and dental issues without any health supervision and Annabel's children are capable of accessing private clinics.

Slide 9: Protective factors

The protective factors in social variation of health and illness refers to the presence of community safety, supportive relationships and financial stability (Mead et al. 2022). These factors are capable of leading towards a positive health outcome. While Jo has none, Annabel has a high paying job, supporting husband and opportunities to solve personal health issues.

Slide 10: Protective factors (Conti..)

On the other hand, parental resilience along with social connection, concrete support, literacy, knowledge of healthcare, as well as social and emotional competence of children are considered effective factors that strengthen the social variation in the case of health and illness (Allen et al. 2022). While Joe has no social security, Annabel belongs to a high social class and has concrete support from her family.

Slide 11: Recommendations

Maintaining open lines of communication for all social levels would help in improving the variations alongside the use of progressive taxes and welfare benefits helps to reduce inequality. Another potential option is increasing employment opportunities alongside minimum wages in order to transfer income for people with lowest healthy life expectancy areas.

Slide 12: References

  • Allen, J., Wexler, L. and Rasmus, S., 2022. Protective factors as a unifying framework for strength-based intervention and culturally responsive American Indian and Alaska native suicide prevention. Prevention Science, 23(1), pp.59-72.
  • Doyal, L., 2022. Women and the National Health Service: the caters and the careless. In Women, Health, and Healing (pp. 236-269). Routledge.
  • Eneanya, N.D., Boulware, L.E., Tsai, J., Bruce, M.A., Ford, C.L., Harris, C., Morales, L.S., Ryan, M.J., Reese, P.P., Thorpe Jr, R.J. and Morse, M., 2022. Health inequities and the inappropriate use of race in nephrology. Nature Reviews Nephrology, 18(2), pp.84-94.
  • Garcia, R., 2022. Social determinants of health. A Population Health Approach to Health Disparities for Nurses: Care of Vulnerable Populations.
  • Grant, T., Croce, E. and Matsui, E.C., 2022. Asthma and the social determinants of health. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 128(1), pp.5-11.
  • 2023., “Gender inequality in employment” Available at: [Accessed on 13th April 2023]
  • Jackson, H. and Engelman, M., 2022. Deaths, disparities, and cumulative (dis) advantage: How social inequities produce an impairment paradox in later life. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 77(2), pp.392-401.
  • Ladwig, K.H., Baghai, T.C., Doyle, F., Hamer, M., Herrmann-Lingen, C., Kunschitz, E., Lemogne, C., Beresnevaite, M., Compare, A., von Känel, R. and Sager, H.B., 2022. Mental health-related risk factors and interventions in patients with heart failure: a position paper endorsed by the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC). European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 29(7), pp.1124-1141.
  • Mead, R., Thurston, M. and Bloyce, D., 2022. From public issues to personal troubles: individualising social inequalities in health within local public health partnerships. Critical Public Health, 32(2), pp.168-180.
  • Slemon, A., Richardson, C., Goodyear, T., Salway, T., Gadermann, A., Oliffe, J.L., Knight, R., Dhari, S. and Jenkins, E.K., 2022. Widening mental health and substance use inequities among sexual and gender minority populations: Findings from a repeated cross-sectional monitoring survey during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Psychiatry research, 307, p.114327.

Task 3: Mini essay


The social variation in the case of health and illness refers to the impact of society and environment on everyday health and well-being (Hernández?Blanco et al. 2022). The following essay is intended to address the difference of social class and financial conditions of household, education, employment, and poverty that have a severe impact on ill health in society.


In case of addressing the sociological explanation regarding the health inequalities, it can be stated that this factor goes against the primary principle of social justice due to the possibility of being avoidable and determining the circumstances that are beyond the control of an individual (Calnan and Douglass, 2022). However, the disadvantages of these circumstances impact the population by limiting their opportunity to live healthy and quality lives. From the given case studies, it can be stated that while Jo's family has been facing social inequalities in the form of employment and educational issues, Annabel's family is receiving equal treatment in case of the identified points. This factor is directed towards the presence of inequality in society that has a severe impact on family's wellbeing.

The initial explanation of health inequalities refers to the employment aspects. This is considered one of the important determinants of health inequalities in the society that has the potential to protect health and contribute towards the reduction of inequalities in society (Marcus et al. 2022). While employment is interrelated with the primary cause of health inequality the improper distributions of income alongside managing belt and power have adverse impact on health and living standards. The present employment rate in the UK refers to 79% alongside the gap between male and female employment rate is 6.7% (, 2023). Besides, the users of drugs and alcohol are significantly less likely to be employed in comparison with others and it creates significant issues for the recovering individuals while making transition at the working environment (, 2023). Unequal employment can also affect the overall health status by reducing the quality of livelihood and offering limited autonomy and leaving the employees at property which has shown in Jo’s case.

On the other hand, the absence of full-time employment also impacts the education of children and this includes the reduced rate of employment and education in Scotland alongside denying education for children of lone parents (, 2023). The children from the lowest healthy life expectancy areas are considered to have low educations alongside 67% of pupils from low- or no-income families having only grade 4 level in English in comparison with 87% of non-disadvantaged peers from wealthy parents (, 2023). The NHS data explains the impact of poor education in cases of mental health disorder among the population in the UK (, 2023). This factor explains the inequality aspects of education on the basis of family income and thus explains sociological inequalities in health.


The following essay has successfully addressed existing social variation in the case of health and illness for inequalities in society alongside the impact of employment and education on affecting families.


  • 2023., “Problem drug users' experiences of employment and the benefit system” Available at: [Accessed on 13th April 2023]
  • Calnan, M. and Douglass, T., 2022. Power, Policy and the Pandemic: A Sociological Analysis of COVID-19 Policy in England. Emerald Group Publishing.
  • 2023., “Education, schooling and health summary” Available at: [Accessed on 13th April 2023]
  • 2023., Available at: [Accessed on 13th April 2023]
  • Hernández?Blanco, M., Costanza, R., Chen, H., DeGroot, D., Jarvis, D., Kubiszewski, I., Montoya, J., Sangha, K., Stoeckl, N., Turner, K. and van ‘t Hoff, V., 2022. Ecosystem health, ecosystem services, and the well?being of humans and the rest of nature. Global change biology, 28(17), pp.5027-5040.
  • Marcus, K., Balasubramanian, M., Short, S. and Sohn, W., 2022. Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD): terminology and standards in reducing healthcare inequalities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 46(1), pp.7-9.
  • 2023., “Poorest children have worse health and educational outcomes in adolescence” Available at: [Accessed on 13th April 2023]


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