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Socio-cultural variables in the etiology of health disturbances. A sociological approach

(1972) Aakster, Cor Wim

Sociology social psyohology and cultural anthropology make very clear that the culture and one's place in the social structure, exert a profound influence upon the human individual. For example, the goals he strives for, the norms he applies in judging his own behaviour and that of others his self-concept his frustrations and needs, his satisfactions and happiness, his emotional expression, regulation of hunger- and sleep-gratifications, his verbal abilities, etc. From this general conocpt of man it would follow that also illness is subjected to these pervasive social influences. Yet, in present-day medicine, a strong emphasls is laid upon the somatic aspects of illness. This situation, then formed the-background of our intention to study the social causation of illness, or thather (in our approach of the subject): health disturbances. After a short period of preparation, the problem was formulated as follows: which socio-cultural variables do contribute to what degree, to the development of which health disturbances It was attempted to answer this question by means of an investigation of a representative sample of the Dutch. population. Along anothor line, ít was tried. to arrivo at a theoretical model that brings together chemical, physical and biological variables on the one hand, and cultural, social and psychological variables on tbe other. For this purpose, a General System's Theory frame of reference seemed particularly suited. Also, a better understanding of human behaviour, especially of stress- and adjustment-mechanisms in this behaviour, seemed necessary for a basic understanding of the etiology of health disturbances These two lines - theoretical and empirical - can be recognized in the design of this book.

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