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PSY 352 Topic 2 Discussion Question 1: 
Many different factors influence people’s health. Developmental factors refer to external physical, emotional, and cognitive changes experienced during childhood and adolescence. Gender refers to social norms associated with masculinity and femininity. Sociocultural influences include family patterns, beliefs, values, and socioeconomics. When environmental conditions are harsh or inaccessible, health may suffer. For example, a chronic illness affects the individual; suicide is a preventable factor of ill health in exposed populations such as Native Americans living on reservations; social isolation or the lack of support networks can lead to poor health and or depression; an economic downturn in the economy has widespread negative effects on the health of individuals
Developmental factors impacting health include the stages of growth and development across the lifespan, individual variations based on biological, psychological and social factors. The impact of genetics on health is becoming ever more apparent as genomic information contributes to a wider knowledge of hereditary disease. Examples of developmental factors include oxygen supply, diet, activity and inactivity, illnesses affecting caretakers during infancy or childhood. Gender differences include specific diseases or conditions as well as differences in life expectancy between men and women. Sociocultural factors affecting health are values that are shared within a culture and norms for behaviors acceptable to the culture, such as child rearing practices. Cultural variation in cognitive beliefs about illness causation affect the process of health care seeking behavior and outcomes.
The many factors that contribute to physical and mental health and illness in individuals and communities include genetics, developmental factors, and sociocultural influences. Most of these factors are influenced by a combination of internal and external influences.
An understanding of developmental and sociocultural factors in health is essential to both herbal practitioners and clients. Developmental factors include physical and mental growth, changes in attitude and social behavior, and age-related health concerns. Sociocultural factors include the physical environment (housing), availability of resources (education, food, water), a person’s social status in the community, and cultural value system. Culture is usually specific to certain geographic areas but can also be held by an individual family, i.e., Chinese medicine. Modern health care systems that incorporate herbs into treatment plans address some of these factors; however, many traditional remedies are plant derived.
Sociocultural factors, also called “social determinants of health,” are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. They include income and education level; employment status; living conditions (whether employed or homeless); job demands and opportunities; neighborhood safety; access to transportation; availability of healthy food options; level of stress at home and at work; exposure to toxins or pollutants in the environment; discrimination based on race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability status; age, sexual identity, or other characteristics that result in social exclusion.
Socioeconomic status, environmental and psychosocial stressors, and a host of other features such as access to medical care and healthy food can affect one’s health in the United States. This section takes a close look at how health is affected by those factors.
Over the years, there have been many studies done which have shown that women are more likely than men to preventative health practices and regular medical checkups.
In a word, it is all about health. In many cases, health to the individual, and in many cases, health to the community.
The development of a healthy person depends on his or her interactions with their immediate and surrounding environment throughout the life span; including their family, community, social and cultural environments as well as biological necessities. An individual’s health cannot be adequately understood without considering these interacting factors.
Discuss developmental, gender, and sociocultural factors in health. Provide examples of each and identify the impact on the individual and the community.