The Effect of Social Organization on Everyday Life and Health
Most people do not think about their health or issues revolving around their health until they are actually ill or people think that their health is only affected by biological factors. However, our health should be a focus in our lives because our daily life has an affect on our health. Illness does not only have biological causes but is also influenced by social factors such as the socially imposed roles of gender and socioeconomic differences.
Before the affect of gender on health can be discussed, the difference between gender and sex must first defined. Sex refers to actual physiological and hormonal differences between men and women; gender refers to the differences that are imposed by society. Statistics have shown that women have higher rates of morbidity but men have shorter life spans. This means that although women live longer than men, those years are not healthy years but rather are filled with illness. This cannot be completely explained by biological causes but the affect of social factors must be taken into account.
There are two types of gender difference disease: completely biological and biological amplified by social. Examples of completely biological diseases would include ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cervical cancer for women and prostrate cancer and testicular cancer for men. These diseases can only be had by members of a certain sex due to specific biological factors such as only women having ovaries therefore are able to have ovarian cancer whereas men have no ovaries and cannot get ovarian cancer. The other class of gender difference diseases is disease with biological causes but amplified by social factors. Examples of this can include various psychological and biological stress related diseases.
The societal demands placed upon women to be homemakers and full time employees provide a source of stress for women that can manifest itself in the form of a physical illness or a psychological disorder. Women have significantly higher rates than men of psychological distress and depression. (Weiss and Lonnquist 98) The effect of this this increased distress may lead to depressed immune function which could factor into the higher morbidity of women. (Rieker and Bird 104)
The pressure that most men feel to be the primary providers of their homes can have an adverse affect upon their health. When confronted with illness, men will underestimate the severity of their illness and avoid seeking health care so that they would not be removed from the work force and be put...