biomedical model and social model of health and how they relate to lay perspectives on health and illness.

Critically discuss the biomedical model and social model of health and how they relate to lay perspectives on health and illness.

Session 2 covered notions of medical/biomedical model and social model of health.

Session 7 covered lay perspectives. The relation can be explained in terms of medical model (not prone to consider lay perspectives as it is scientifically based) and social model as likely to consider lay perspectives as factors influencing health alongside environmental, cultural and socioeconomic factors. Models of health- seeking behaviour in lay perspectives are useful – this could be found in the literature suggested for the unit

Defining health – through the lenses of  medical model (absence of disease- Ill health a deviation from the normal – there is always an observable distinction between health and illness –critique what is normal?

Doctrine of specific aetiology states that every disease condition has a biologically defined causative organism- not applicable to mental illness to a greater extent – critique -How is multi-causality (socio, economic factors etc) of illness addressed?

Assumption of generic disease – The notion that every disease has universally identifiable distinguishing features – critique – Diseases are defined differently in different cultural contexts/ context dependent.

Social model – (this is based on the WHO definition of health – a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity etc – critique- how realistic is this – State of complete health unattainable)

Lay perspectives: Lay perspectives are not just ‘…primitive ideas …’ but are commonsense ideas ‘filtered through internalised professional accounts’ (Gabe, 2004; Blaxter, 2004); Folk theories about keeping healthy + overlap of professional views & they are representations of the culture and society in which people live .

Herzlich, (1973) Identified three different typologies for describing health and illness: illness as (a) a destroyer (b) a liberator – from the business of maintaining life , work etc (sick role almost) (c) occupation- many hosp visits, appointments, taking care of one self etc Health (a) in a vacuum (b) as a reserve (c) as equilibrium.


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