Although providing care for chronically ill and/or disabled family members is inherently stressful, several factors mediate the impact of that stress. Family structure, economic resources, social support, and coping resources and strategies all have an impact on the care giving experience. Family structure may mediate the impact of care giving for African Americans, who reportedly experience less stress and burden than other racial groups. One study explains this by noting that African Americans rely on a more diverse group of caregivers, including extended family members and close friends (Charmaz, 1995).
Social support involves talking with an expert or people experiencing the same problem. The state schools, hospitals and other institutions should have support groups for people with chronic illness.
These groups provide education about the illness or disability and information about resources available in meeting the daily needs of families. A central theme in support groups is empowerment, which refers to providing chronically ill people and their caregivers with the maximum control over their own lives (Charmaz, 1995).
As a health psychologist, I would help the patient’s family cope with chronic illness by participating in the patient’s life. This will restore positive energy of the patient. Another important factories cherishing the good times by learning how to hold onto positives and celebrating the significant life events. Last but not least strategy is encouragement of family members to provide financial and moral support to the patient.
In almost all cultures of the world women have less access to and control over resources than men. They have been denied equal access to facilities such as education and training. These gender-based differences have implications for both men’s and women’s health status in a few ways. These include access to health services, one’s ability to follow the prescribed treatments, the patient’s health seeking behavior,the ways in which one perceives symptoms of illness, and one’s long term health and social consequences. For example, a research conducted in South Asia revealed that gender discrimination at each stage of the female life cycle contributes to health disparity, sex selective abortions, and neglect of female children, reproductive mortality, and poor access to healthcare for girls and women.
People, who are poor, have low levels of education, or are socially isolated, are more likely to engage in risk-related behaviors and less likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors (Bhuiya et. al., 2009)..Behaviors occur in specific social contexts. Social environments influence behavior by shaping norms (e.g., the extent to which tobacco use is discouraged or encouraged); enforcing patterns of social control; providing or not providing opportunities to engage in particular behaviors (e.g., safe places to exercise, availability of nutritious foods); and reducing or producing stress, for which engaging in specific behaviors might be an effective coping strategy, at least in the short term (Bhuiya et. al., 2009).
These include different genetic predispositions to diseases and hormonal factors. During the past years an assessment of health in clinical settings was almost totally based on the male population. However, the results were generalized to the female population, excluding the cases of reproductive cycles. Clinical tests usually did not include women, which is justified by the aim to guard them and their future children from potential side effects. Nonetheless, research done in the U.S.A established serious threats for the validity of a male model in the process of treating health issues of women. It also found important gender-based differences in the biological factors affecting the general health and the development of diseases (Bhuiya et. al.,2009)
These include hormonal imbalance, malfunctioning of serotonin in the brain, genetic explanations, and emotional problems expressed by abnormal relationships with food.
Males and females differ in their health risk and promoting behaviors. Women are more vulnerable to health risk behaviors. Various studies shown that during the first 10 years of life, the energy and nutrient needs of girls and boys are the same. Yet, in some countries, especially in South Asia, men and boys often receive greater quantities of higher quality, nutritious food such as dairy products, because they will become the breadwinners (Bhuiya et. al., 2009).
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