The Biomedical model vs. the Social model of health and illness
Which statements refer to the biomedical model? Which statements
refer to the social model? Using two different colours categorise the
The biomedical model refers to.... The social model refers to...
The human body is seen as working like a
machine which occasionally breaks down.
In the same was as a car has broken down,
‘body mechanics’ (doctors) apply their
expert medical knowledge to diagnose the
biological or chemical processes that have
Health is a relative condition. What is
defined as health depends on what is
regarded as ‘normal’ in a particular
society, and this will vary over time and
A choice exists whether someone sees
himself or not to classify someone as ill.
Disease is mainly caused by biological
factors, together with recent emphasis on
personal factors such as smoking and diet.
Health is defined as the absence of
disease or disability.
Medical science is influenced by social and
economic factors. Drug companies and
medical technology manufacturers are
likely to have important influences on the
way doctors go about their work.
Doctors can treat and cure the disease
they have identified through medical or
surgical treatments in ‘body shops’- clinical
situations like doctors’ surgeries and
The causes of ill health are seen as arising
either from the moral failing of the
individual (smoking, poor diet etc) or from
random attacks of disease.
It’s not just by chance individuals fall ill,
whole groups of people are more at risk.
There are patterns of social class, gender
and ethnic inequalities in health.
What counts as health and sickness is as
much about the power of medical
professionals as it is about biology.
Scientific medicine is seen as the way to
solve health problems.
Good health depends on the availability of
trained medical personnel, medical
technology, operating theatres, drugs etc.
Health and disease are social constructs.