When it comes to defining what health is it can be difficult, people can have a positive outlook to define health or a negative, for example a positive definition of health could be- feeling well in many ways; feeling physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially well, etc. A negative definition of health could be that you are healthy so long as you don’t have a disease. As well as there being positive and negative approaches to health, there is also a holistic approach to health, holistic means ‘relates with a complete system rather than looking at individual parts’ (Webster, 2014) – so for example if one concept of our health is affected it will affect all the other parts in some way, the concepts are- spiritual health; physical health; environmental health; psychological health and sociological health.
If somebody’s physical health is poor such as becoming ill with a disease like cancer it is thought to effect all other concepts of health for example the environmental health may become dirty and unclean as the individual is weak to be able to keep on top of tidying it up; the sociological health is effected as you will be socially seen as an ill person rather than a person; the spiritual health could be the individual may feel they are being punished by god or for something they have done and the psychological health will be effected as the individual will feel extremely depressed and though they are waiting for their death to come. The world health organisation, which founded in 1948 has the definition of health that health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (WHO, 2003).
Finally, Mildred Baxter (1990) as both a positive definition of health, negative and functional – the positive definition regards health as feeling fit and well, the negative definition regards health as being free from pain and discomfort and the functional definition regards health in terms of being able to perform day to day tasks. There are four different social perspectives which have views on both health and ill-health, these social perspectives are functionalist; marxist; feminist and interactionist. The functionlists believe that for our society to be able to function properly the individuals in society need to be healthy, and the idea of someone being ill is them having a form of social deviance. Talcott Parsons who is a functionlist has the view that when a person falls sick they become apart of ‘the sick role’ – this is when someone is sick they behave a certain way, such as not going to work, staying in bed, hot water bottles… etc. Sick people in society are thought to have rights and responsibilies, we have the right to be able to be cared for and not go into work so we can rest our bodies and we have the responsibility to get ourselves better by going to visit the doctor, etc.
The marxist view towards health and ill-health belives that the reason we have health and social care services in place such as the doctors is to serve the rich and the powerful in the society, the reason this is thought to serve the rich and powerful is to be able to get employers back to work so that no buisness is lost. The marxists have they theory that depending on the level of illness is related to the differences in social class, for example the poor are more likely to suffer from poor diets, etc. Feminists also have there own view towards health and ill-health , the femanists are more focused on the male domination in the medical field, such as why is it more money is not spent on the male contraceptive pill? There are thought to be less side effects however it is still up to woman to take it.
There is an increasing number in woman who are suffering from mental health illness’ which is down to the reason that woman are expected to live as a certain poisition in society, such as the double day – this is where a woman is expected to go out to work to help provide for their family home and when the working day is over to come home and cook tea and care for the children, clean, etc. Finally, the interactionists say that if you are ill it all depends on if the individual is ill and wanting to admit that they are ill, as some people do not like to admit defeat and admit they’re ill whereas others will say they are ill when it is very minor. In conclusion there are all different views on what health is, and what ill health is… as well as this we can see that depending on the individual and there beliefs and views on being ill depends on how they will accept the change.