HOW SOCIOLOGY AND LAY IDEAS DIFFER FROM BIO-MEDICINE?Despite their deep insight in explanation of health and the factors surrounding it, they do pose key differences both in definitions as well as the approaches they utilize to describe health.
a) Awareness of the concept of health.
Health is a key component in the survival and optimal functioning of every human being. It is considered a continuum according to Neumann (2009) which factors in the human being and environment with close interrelation to illness and disease concepts. Following the acknowledgement of this fact, various models developed by various scholars have sought to explain this phenomenon. These models include the sociological model of health developed by sociologists who have always viewed health and illness around behavioral orientation and the biomedical model that utilizes scientific terms in the explanation of the health and illness phenomenon (Jeana, 2010).
b) Controversy in the definition of health.
Despite their deep insight in explanation of health and the factors surrounding it, they do pose key differences both in definitions as well as the approaches they utilize to describe health. The definitions of health by both models raise a controversy. On its side, the biomedical model approach defines health as the absence of pain, disease or deformity and doesn’t factor in other sociological factors that define health (WHO, 2014).
Its counterpart, the sociological model of health and illness defines as a state of complete well being, socially, physically and mentally, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO/UNICEF 2014). The two statements on the definition appear contracting with the latter antagonizing the former and can greatly influence the management of diseases especially when one relies exclusively on one definition.
c) The biomedical model of health
The biomedical model approaches health through a scientific approach, which involves interrelated fields all with an aim to achieving the well being of an individual as whole. It involves a physician diagnosing a particular condition followed by its management to correct the condition. As opposed to the sociological model of health and illness, it focuses on the physical, physiological, biochemical and pathological aspects of the disease in human illness which are objective without taking into account the social aspect which is objective in nature (Dutta, 2008). Its main concentration lies in the biological factors concerning health.
According to it, health is defined as the absence of disease, pain or deformity (WHO, 2014). It holds that an illness is an abnormal functioning that results from organisms within or without the body. It can also result from internal factors such as autoimmunity dysfunctions of the body systems (Robert & Thomas, 2014). The diseases developing from these organisms can be passed from one person to another externally or through the biological systems to other generations other individuals in close contact with the individual.
Kenneth J. (2012) clarifies that, a disease occurs as an interaction between the individual and the disease-causing-organism in the environment and has stages for it to cause significant clinical effect. For some diseases, prevention is possible while, for others, it is not.The development of the disease cannot be influenced by the individual sociology, only the biological composition such as genetic makeup. After the disease has developed, it is when it causes the signs and symptoms which are clear in the individual and evident through an examination of biological parameters within the body.
As opposed to the sociological model of diseases with difficulties to verify since it assumes illness to be a role, the biomedical model can verify the presence of a disease in the system
. It is done through measurement of the current parameters in the individuals, including weight, presence of physical injury, biological alterations compared to the known normal values. Corrections of the detected abnormalities occur through tangible and evidence based interventions such as administration of substances determined to be disturbed, which range from simple to in depth procedures.
Biomedical model approaches rely on knowledge and skills on various biological subjects. These enable one to make comparisons between the known, the experienced and the present on the management of various conditions presenting in an individual. Some require further specialization to enable the acquisition of some finer details and know how about the disease for easy handling and management of the complicated cases. The sociological approach may not require specializations since management of the conditions perceived by the individual or community as illness depends on the norms, beliefs and behaviors acceptable within that society.
The worsening or improvement in the patient’s illness using the biomedical model can be easily done through reassessment compared against the baseline data, whereby the variation can be quantified clinically and be used to make a decision whether the condition has improved. As opposed to the sociological approach in which the behavioral changes, determine an improvement or deterioration.
Biomedical model is uniform across all ages of the people in the society. The approaches utilized in handling young children are similar for adults giving it a scientific universality with little variations in the amount of the interventions. It is also universal across all people irrespective of their cultures and backgrounds making it easily acceptable. It differs from the sociological model in that the interpretation of aspects of the sick role in a person may not be applicable in the very young and sick children who may not have undergone the process of socialization to comprehend what happens within their cultures. Its applicability may differ from community to another since cultures and their components are not similar.
The dualism action of the body and mind as a principle is factored in the biomedical model approach. The dualism principle assumes that some aspects of the mind are not physical and assessment is through non-physical methods that include measurements and other specific assessments to achieve the right diagnosis and guidance to the achievement of the desired outcome of patient care.
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