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Comparison of Social and Medical Models of Health

Info: 618 words (2 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 10th Dec 2020

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Defining and comparing the medical and social models of health

The ways in which health, illness and disease are defined depends on different factors and models, For instance the way the practitioner defines health is different from the way other people in the society defines it. There has always been diversity in the theoretical of health and illness in the western culture. Though the models of health may vary, these models play a defining role, signifying what should be or not be the object of public health concern. This essay will define and compare the medical and social model of health and also discuss their key components.

The social model of health places importance on the changes that needs to be made by society, empowering people to be in charge of their own health and lifestyles, in order to make the population healthier.

The medical model defines health as absence of disease, it informs the most powerful and influential discourse about health. The medical model is the most main system of medical knowledge within the western world, its activity is the treatment of disease in individuals. It’s the model that quite defines health narrowly.

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Social model of health key components involves health being determined by a broad range of social, environmental and economic factors as not just biomedical risk factors, it also act to reduce inequalities that has to do with age, gender, race, culture, socioeconomic status and location because equity is the main point for health service delivery.

The key component of the medical model of health involves the standard analytical format process:

Underlying the model is the implicit assumption that the illness described by the person, now called patient, indicate a disordered part, or pathology, called the disease or disorder which is the cause of the illness.

The social model of health differences when compared to the medical model of health are as follows:-:- The social model of health is focus more on the environment, social, and environmental determinants of health, not just biomedical determinants. While, the medical model is centred on individual as a patient. The medical model has a core structure of analysis by which symptoms and physical signs known as illness are reduced to more specific disordered part while the social determinant of health is the social and environmental condition people work and live. Medical model deals with a specific disease with specific therapy while social model of health is based on the understanding that in order for health gains to be present we need to meet the people’s basic needs.

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In addition to the comparison, the social model of health takes into recognition the environmental and social factors that affect health and produce inequities whereas the medical model serves well for illness caused primarily by organic diseases – albeit with serious limitation when no specific cause or cure is known.

In conclusion, Human kind is believed to be the only one that does not allow nature to be just nature. The most commonly accepted vision of healthcare is that improvements result from advancements in medical science.

It is widely accepted that the medical model of health focuses primarily on the eradication of illness through diagnosis and effective treatment. In comparison the social model of health emphasis on changes in the society and in people’s way of life to make the population healthier. Taking into consideration these models of health allows us to have a better knowledge of why some people take care of their health easily than others.


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