Social Inequalities and Health

  • Geoffrey Harding
  • Sarah Nettleton
  • Kevin Taylor


This chapter will illustrate that health and disease are not simply biologically determined phenomena and that the chances of becoming ill are frequently related to a person’s social circumstances. That is to say, illness and disease are not simply associated with physiological changes but are also influenced by where we live, and how we live, work, and eat, and also by our relationships with other people. We shall examine the evidence which shows that disease has a social, as well as a biological basis — in fact, that disease is socially patterned. By this we mean that certain groups of people in society are more likely to suffer from certain ailments than others. Generally those people most susceptible to such ailments are those who have the fewest material resources, and whose access to decent housing, adequate transport and employment opportunities is most restricted.


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Further Reading

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  5. Townsend, P. and Davidson, N. (1982) Inequalities in Health: The Black Report, Harmondsworth, Penguin.Google Scholar
  6. Whitehead, M. (1987) The Health Divide: Inequalities in the 1980’s, London, Health Education Council.Google Scholar


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Copyright information

© The authors 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Harding
  • Sarah Nettleton
  • Kevin Taylor

There are no affiliations available

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