There are many factors that influence both positively and negatively to a person’s environment such as social, economical, employment, education, ethnicity, gender, age and location. Many of these characteristics are linked and throughout my research in this essay, I will focus on education, employment and social support and examine the detrimental effects these three factors have on one’s health due to the particular environment they inhabit within these determinants. Empirical studies of populations based on these categories form the basis for socioeconomic analysis, as hey demonstrate the extent to which structural inequalities exist in any society’ (Carson et al. , 2007, p. 88). In addition, we investigate the substantial impact these three factors have on the state of health of the aboriginal population of Australia. Health and illness are of great social importance to ourselves, our family and the community as a whole.
The state of one’s health can have a big impact on the economy through loss of productivity and costs involved with maintaining health or illness (Woods, 2009). When studying health and illness, “people are not merely illogical beings, they are also psychological and social creatures, and state of health is affected by all three aspects” (Weiss et al. , 2009, p. 113). Therefore, it is important to analyze these determinants in order to convey how simple everyday issues in a person’s life impacts on their well being and influences their family and community.
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In saying that, the research in this essay aims to illustrate that health professionals should not Just focus on the clinical medicine diagnoses to promote good health but go beyond this by exploring the underlying social conditions within one’s unique environment. The educational qualification a person has obtained plays a large role in determining life’s pathway. From early childhood, if you are provided with all the basic material needs, your mental and physical health is more likely to thrive, than a child growing up with few choices and not have their basic needs met.
This is where education intervenes by influencing the child’s self-confidence and impacting on their interaction with their environment (Macdonald, 2005). It has been well documented that educated people are more likely to be employed full-time in a gratifying Job, to eave a good income with little economic hardship, to have higher levels of social support and to be healthier through eating nutritious food and making positive behavioral choices in regards to smoking, alcohol and drug consumption (Weiss, et al. , 2009).
While people that are less educated are at greater risk of chronic disease and dying prematurely (Boucher et al, 2007). For example, one study in Canada revealed that people with more than 12 years of education are less likely to suffer health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or to be overweight (Macdonald, 2005). Bevel can determine whether a person, firstly, can gain employment in a competitive market and then may govern the grade of income they can receive due to their knowledge and the hazards involved with their profession.
When examining at the working conditions of laborers between 1998-2000, they had 104% more people die within these industries than people employed in managerial or administrative roles, due to occupational illness and injury (Bam, 2008), this shows the significant impact that work environment has on health. On the other hand, ‘The National Health Survey ported that the unemployed were more likely to suffer from mental and behavioral problems and were more likely to smoke, have a poorer diet and be obese (Bam, 2008).
In contrast to this, there is now evidence that “… Psychosocial factors at work influence risk of physical and mental illness and may play a role in contributing to the social gradient in ill health” (Marmot et al. , 2006, p. 97). Therefore, the evidence shows that both groups, employed lower class workers and the unemployed are facing considerable health problems within both environments. Never the less, employment status still has substantial influence on one’s health.
One study in the I-J, suggested that if there were more equality of income we would see a dramatic improvement in the health of the lower class; this is the practice used in Sweden, where the lowest social class has a better mortality rate than the highest class in England (Merchant, 2007). Furthermore, if you then look at women in the work force the majority are receiving a lower income than their male counterparts, and are often employed only on a casual basis and dominate low paid occupations due to their raring responsibilities (Koehler, 2009), this research in itself shows the inequities of employment in regards to gender.
Another view on this, is due to the high costs of living both parent’s are pressured into working which in turn reduces time for family (Bam, 2008) and a work-life balance this in itself may have a carry on effect for future generations well-being. Beyond the benefits of a regular income, a person’s occupation is essential for solicitation and unfortunately these days one would not stay in the same Job for life like they once did, therefore social support from work is less common (Bam, 2008).
Social cohesion among people who would normally remain isolated in their home, has shown to provide protection against ill health, this “explains how some escape the poor health profile experienced by others in a similar socio-economic position” (Carson et al. , 2007, p. 10). Building and maintaining a stable emotional environment is essential as “human well being is nourished not only by food, but by supportive engagement with other people, by the knowledge and experience of being cared for and valued” (Macdonald, 2005, p. 5). Having these connections between individuals and community groups provide a source information, emotional and financial support (IHA, 2007). Therefore, social support regardless of the other factors can have a positive impact on an individual’s health and can provide participation in social networks, personal growth and aid development (Marmot et al. , 2006) by giving individuals a sense belonging and value within a community loneliness and unhappiness, which can cause high levels of stress and depression (Koehler, 2009).
One way in which we can bring the communities together and encourage social networks is by ‘community capacity building. Individuals need to feel empowered by making changes in their social structure and process, this can result in increase of resources and opportunities and in turn give individuals the social support needed to make a positive difference in their health (Verity, 2007). A further area that we can examine in regards to social factors, is the indigenous population of Australia, it is clear that their environment is having a significantly negative impact on their health.
If you look at the number of Indigenous people on welfare payments this reflects the rate of unemployment and the low rates of labor racket participation within this group (Carson et al. , 2007). This may be due to the lack of education, as a far higher proportion of Aboriginal Australians have not attended school at all, compared with non Indigenous Australians, and are unlikely to participate in any education after they are 1 5 years old.
Aboriginal adolescents are often alienated by the education system as not being able to achieve a good education and have high levels of failure, absenteeism and behavior problems (Bam, 2008). Therefore, they become a burden to the school and consequently, they eave or are expelled. As social networks weaken due to perception of inequality, a person can become sensitive to their situation and experience feelings of inferior, this leads to chronic stress and increased vulnerability to infection and cardiovascular diseases, or even suicide (Carson et al. , 2007), all resulting from a lack of social support and belonging. A stark reminder of the combined effect of entrenched racism, deprivation and discrimination is in the profoundly disadvantaged health status of Indigenous Australians, which is essentially the result f extreme social exclusion policies and practices” (Koehler, 2009, p. 167). The above analysis highlights that there have been significant negative impacts on individual’s health due to their social environment including education level, employment status and social support. The evidence clearly shows these environments play a significant part in determining the health of an individual.