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Factors Affecting Health & Well-Being

Socio-Economic Factors

Influence of Gender

Gender refers to the social catergorisation of people as men or women, and the social meaning and beliefs about sexual difference. There appears to be a difference in a man and a woman's health and how differnet factors can affect different sexes in different ways. Differences * Women in NI have higher life expectancy than men regardless of social class * Women nare more likely to report illnesses than men, as women are more inclined to take care of their heallth * Women are more likely to fight infections than men due to genetics * Men have higher rates of alcohol and illicit drug missuse.

Social Mixing between genders e.g. Groups of boys and girls may create more friends and a better social life If females stick to mainly/only one gender especially the opposite sex then their own sex may not wish to socialise with them. Psychological girls may find it easier to express their feelings to the same sex than boys. Women are the biggest users of health care services Women live longer than men Gender affects the type of illness e.g. Breast cancer, cervical cancer etc.

Men are more likely to have accidents (possibly because of their jobs e.g. Builders) Men are more likely to have active jobs, positive impact however can lead to more accidents Women are more likely to suffer from depression.

Housing & Health

Health can be affected by house quality and its lack of availability. The NI Housin executive is responsible for providing accomodation to homeless people in NI. Throughout the 1990's the UK wide response to homelessness was simply 'put a roof over your head' regardless of what other needs you might have In 2000 the Housing Executive took the view that this approach did not go far enough.

Effects of Poor Housing - Physical

Houses that have damp, condensation and mould growth could lead to respiratory illnesses e.g. Asthsma, bronchitis , pneumonia etc. Houses that lack adequate heating can cause repiratory illnesses, cardiovascular problems and in extreme cases hypothermia Over crowded houses can lead to the spreading of bacterial and viral infections. Housing with no outside space can reduce opportunities for physical development children may be slower to develop gross motor skills.

Effects of Poor Housing - Psychological

Poor housing conditions can be a source of stress due to * lack of sleep * bills to pay for repair

Effects of Poor Housing - Social

Pollution e.g. Nosie & visual, friends and family may not want to visit May attatch stigma Housing located in run down areas (often areas of social deprivation) increased risk of crime

Income & Health

How much a person earns is very important in dertermining a person's health. Individuals and families rely on a source of income to fulfil their health needs. Income can contribute positively and negatively to a person's health

Effects on Physical Health

Rich/poor diet Little/ a lot excerise e.g. Gym Pollution in bad areas Better healthcare/low class health care Quicker treatment (private if affordable) High/low self-esteem Higher income have a longer life expectancy (live in better condtions) Lower incomes maybe less likely to afford health diets People with higher incomes may be able to access specialist health

Breast cancer occurs more frequently in women with high income, although are more likely to survive it. Smoking is more prevailant in most people in low-incomes People will low income often live in industrial areas often have higher levels of pollution People in low incomes may work longer hours to increase their health.

Effects of Income on Social Health

More/less money for social activity Better/less standard of social activity Higher/lower self-esteemm to socialise May be able to afford more flexible choices for socialisation (higher income)

Effects of Income on Psychological Health

Better/lower self-esteem Less/more stress Better/worse sleep Less/more worries


Physical Well educated people are more likely to understand the need for health behaviours e.g. Healthy diet, dangers of smoking People with higher levels of education are likely to be in better jobs, so can afford to spend money on leisure activities that enhance physical health and well-being e.g. Gym membership People with lower levels of education may not understand advice given Mortality and morbidity rates are higher for those with lower education and achievement.

Social Individuals with a lower level of education may not achieve enough qualifications to fain employment. Indidivuals with a lower level of education are more likely to commit crimes. Inviduals with a higher education are more likely to get better paid jobs (greater accss to leisure activities).

Culture & Ethinicity

Race is another factor to affect life expectancy, particularly because of the differences in culture this may bring back. Black and minority groups have highers risk or MORTALITY from a range of diseases such as diabetes, liver cancer, tuberculosis, stroke and heart disease These ethnic groups are also more likely to suffer from mental illness, however establishing the causes of these variations has proven difficult.

Physical Reasons Why People From Different Cultures May Experince An Increased Risk of Ill-health

Language is a barrier to seeking help Religious beliefs Poor literacy skills Discrimination Lack of knowledge Financial difficulties Feel iscolated from their own community No medical intervention

Social Reasons Why People From

Different Cultures May Experince An Increased Risk of Ill-health

May limit where people go Certain cultures will only be associated with people More subject to crime May not do so well at school (language barrier) May find it difficult to find employment (may be from discrimination) Individuals from certain backgrounds have strong family beliefs May find it difficult to form/maintain

Psychological Reasons Why People

From Different Cultures May Experince An Increased Risk of Ill-health

May feel iscolated Frustrated due to no job Asian men are more likely to suffer from depression Fear Anger

Social Class Classification - Discuss how social class affects an individual's physical, social and psychological health Physical

Diet more weight gain for those who are unemployed. Reduced physical activity and excercise Physical conditions, e.g. Heart disease, obesity Opportunities for exercise Impact of housing, e.g. Respiratory conditions Access to health services (including private/NHS) Life expectancy Smoking behaviour and smoking related illness increased smoking at the onset of unemployed smoking is considerably higher among those who are unemployed

Increased alcohol consumption with unemployed espeically in young men Use of illicit drugs in the young who are without work Increased sexual risk taking among unemployed men.


Opportunities for 'going out' with others Opportunities for holidays to alleviate stress Type of social activities engaged in Opportunities for employment/work with others


Self-esteem reduced psychological well-being Mental health, e.g. Greater incidence of helfharm, depression and anxiety Levels of stress