Health as a social construct is one of the harder concepts to understand in Preliminary PDHPE. This final dot point under “What influences the health of individuals?” requires you to group together all the previous dot points for this critical question and identify that health is not a result of individual choices only, but is actually constructed by society and as such responsibility for health falls upon not just the individual, but society as a whole.
Health as a social construct examines how an individuals context impacts upon their health status. It recognises the interrelationship of the determinants of health and notes that many of the determinants are either out of the individual’s control, or made difficult to change because of their context. The result of this is the concept that health is not solely an individual’s responsibility, and that some responsibility must fall to the society as a whole.
It may be worth going back and revisiting perceptions of health as social constructs as the concept here is much the same. Health as a social construct is based upon a recognition of the determinants of health and their interrelationship. The better your understanding of these determinants the more able you will be to see health as a social construct. So, our next step is to identify and understand this interrelationship at a deeper level.
The Preliminary PDHPE syllabus states:
Students learn about:
- health as a social construct
- recognises the interrelationship of determinants
- challenges the notion that health is solely an individual’s responsibility.
Students learn to:
- investigate how the determinants of health explain why some individuals and groups have better or worse health than others.
Discuss who is responsible for the health of the individual. 6 marks
Using an example, explain why some individuals have better health than others. 8 marks
Describe the interrelationship of the determinants of health. 5 marks