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INTRODUCTION TO MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY FOR BIOMEDICAL STUDENTS

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To gain an understanding of sociology as a social science discipline ... Sociology is one of the social sciences ... Class (social class) & Health ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: INTRODUCTION TO MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY FOR BIOMEDICAL STUDENTS


1
INTRODUCTION TO MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY FOR BIOMEDICAL
STUDENTS
  • Kai-Lit Phua, PhD FLMI
  • Associate Professor
  • School of Medicine Health Sciences
  • Monash University Malaysia Campus

2
Biographical details
  • Kai-Lit Phua received his BA (cum laude) in
    Public Health Population Studies from the
    University of Rochester and his PhD in Sociology
    from Johns Hopkins University. He also holds
    professional qualifications from the insurance
    industry.
  • Prior to joining academia, he worked as a
    research statistician for the Maryland Department
    of Health and Mental Hygiene and for the Managed
    Care Department of a leading insurance company in
    Singapore.
  • He was awarded an Asian Public Intellectual
    Senior Fellowship by the Nippon Foundation in
    2003.

3
Lecture notes
  • http//phuakl.tripod.com/phuakl1.html
  • Click on Medical Sociology A or
  • Medical Sociology B

4
Learning Objectives
  • To gain an understanding of sociology as a social
    science discipline
  • To appreciate the usefulness of sociology in
    solving biomedical and public health problems
  • To be introduced to a number of major
    sociological/epidemiological variables

5
What is Sociology?
  • Sociology is one of the social sciences
  • Sociologists study human societies, human
    behaviour in groups, and how individual behaviour
    is shaped by social institutions and
    socio-economic forces
  • Examples of social institutions family, school,
    religion, legal system
  • Historically, sociology is associated with the
    challenge of responding to social problems
    arising from industrialisation and urbanisation
    in W. Europe

6
What is Medical Sociology?
  • A better term for it is Sociology of Health and
    Illness
  • Using the sociological way of thinking to study
    or solve biomedical/public health problems
  • 1. Sociology of medicine
  • 2. Sociology in medicine

7
Sociology of Medicine
  • This approach focuses on theory and concepts
  • An example would be the famous book by Eliot
    Freidson called Professional Dominance i.e. a
    study of why and how doctors are dominant in the
    health professions and health institutions
  • Another example would be Paul Starrs book called
    The Social Transformation of American Medicine
    which predicted erosion of this dominance with
    the rise of corporate medicine

8
Sociology in Medicine
  • This approach focuses on applications and solving
    problems using sociological knowledge
  • An example would be David Mechanics studies of
    illness behaviour
  • Another example would be studies of adherence
    (compliance)

9
Major Sociological Concepts Useful to Biomedical
Students
  • Ethnicity (race)
  • Class (social class)
  • Gender (sex)
  • Age
  • Region (geographical location)
  • Education (educational attainment)
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Other e.g. sexuality/sexual orientation

10
Ethnicity (race) Health
  • How does membership in a particular ethnic group
    affect ones health? Example health of
    indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities
  • Measuring health at the population level
  • Morbidity (sickness) rates
  • Disability rates
  • Mortality (deaths) rates
  • Life expectancy
  • Culture, health and disease e.g. nutrition
    patterns, other health-related behaviour
  • Culture-bound illnesses

11
Class (social class) Health
  • Social class differences in health (the social
    class gradient in health)
  • People in the lower classes tend to have
    poorer health than people in the upper classes
  • Marmots Whitehall studies of British civil
    servants document the existence of a health
    gradient by civil service rank
  • Note Sometimes, SES (Socio Economic Status)
    is used instead of Class

12
Gender (sex) Health
  • Gender versus biological sex
  • Gender, socialisation and health
  • Cervical cancer related to biological sex
  • Lung cancer
  • Substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs)
  • Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) e.g.
    HIV/AIDS
  • Injuries from risk-taking behaviour
  • Body image and eating disorders

13
Age Health
  • The life cycle and health
  • Before birth (fetus)
  • Infant
  • Child
  • Teenager
  • Young adulthood
  • Middle adulthood
  • Old age

14
Region Health
  • Geographical location and health
  • Rural versus Urban
  • Urban slums versus Desirable urban areas
  • Poor country versus rich country
  • Physical characteristics/weather of region

15
Education Health
  • Educational level and health
  • Less educated people tend to have poorer health
    than better educated people
  • Female education is associated with lower infant
    mortality rate

16
Marital Status Health
  • Marital status and health
  • Marriage is good for mental health (for most
    people)
  • People living alone (single people, the widowed,
    elderly living by themselves) tend to have poorer
    health

17
Religion Health
  • Religious values and health
  • Religious beliefs can affect health-related
    behaviour e.g. diet, smoking, drinking,
    sexuality, seeing the doctor (including the
    psychiatrist) and seeking medical care e.g.
    Jehovahs Witness and blood transfusion

18
Other concepts(more advanced)
  • Medicalisation
  • What used to be a social problem gets
    redefined as a medical problem to be treated by
    doctors and other health professionals e.g.
    alcoholism, domestic violence, compulsive
    gambling
  • Demedicalisation
  • An example would be homosexuality no longer
    being classified as a mental disorder by the
    American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s

19
THE END
  • THANK YOU
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