Sociology and Health: Gatimu's Case Analysis


Gatimu’s case is a clear illustration of everyday life with reference to the health and social life. Gatimu is suffering from a deformed foot; however, he believes that treating it through surgery is a waste of resources. He also believes that he is alright since he engages in major activities during his duties. Moreover, he has an aching back but has not consulted a doctor. Furthermore, he is having difficulties coping with his colleagues who often underestimate him due to his race, but he believes that his hard work and determination is all that matters. Talking about Gatimu’s problems, he also has an identity difficulty since he is not able to accept his situation as a homosexual. He believes that once his condition is revealed, he will not have peace of mind and decides to keep it to himself. He decides to hide his condition even in difficult times when he should have revealed everything. Gatimu’s case can be discussed from a sociological perspective by considering the sociology of health and illnesses explained by several researchers. That will be done by discussing sick role as a health issue that was explained by Talcott Parsons.

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Sociological Concepts

The sick role will cover all the sociological perspectives since it explains the reasons why people are willing or not willing to take medical attention. The sick role highlights that a sick individual is not a productive individual in the society and the kind of deviance requires medical attention (De Maio 2010). The Marxist sociological concept can be used to explain one of Gatimu’s sufferings. The orientation of Marxist perspective of understanding health and illness can be used in explaining social origins of an illness (Barry & Yuill 2011). In that case, health results of an individual emerge from their capitalist activities. That is evident in Gatimu’s case who suffers after getting injuries in the course of his duties at work. His back and leg are now at risky conditions and he needs medical attention, but he is unwilling to do that.

Most importantly, Gatimu’s condition of homosexuality can be viewed at a sociological perspective using the functionalist concept. The functionalist theory stipulates that stability and cooperation are vital in the current societies (De Maio 2010). Moreover, the society is perceived as a biological organism where the entire community is viewed to be interconnected with integrated parts, and it is the integration that develops from general outcomes of core norms and values (Winters 2013). Apparently, socialization helps people learn roles and it triggers their modes of behavior. In medical aspects, the functionalist theory plays a huge role in explaining illness behavior (Barry & Yuill 2011). It does not define sickness as only a physical condition, but also emphasizes other failures in the society. Gatimu’s case of being alienated from his colleagues, from work and members of the family can be viewed using the functionalist perspective. Homosexuality and underestimation due to his race do not trigger physical difficulties but make him feel anti-social. He feels that his condition should never be known by other people, including his family.

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Analysis of the Health Issue

The sick role issue evident in Gatimu’s case can be analysed using a sociological perspective. According to the sick role theory, whenever an individual falls sick, then they adopt the role of being sick. The sick role explains four major components, including the fact that an individual is not in any way responsible for their sickness hence is expected to seek assistance (De Maio 2010). The next component is that the person should be given a chance to rest and refrain from normal tasks. Moreover, there is the stipulation that when a person is sick, then they are in an undesirable state. The last concept is that in attempts to enhance recovery, the person is required to seek for help as well as to comply with prescribed medical treatment (Barry & Yuill 2011). Gatimu’s health issue is clearly covered by the health concept of sick role due to the fact that he is not responsible for his ailing leg and back, but it was just an accident. The sick role also stipulates that Gatimu should accept that he is sick and should seek medical attention. Most importantly, Gatimu is uncomfortable about his situation. Therefore, Gatimu should be excluded from doing his tasks and roles in order to recover.

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In addition, the health belief model can be used to explain the health issue. The health belief model tends to discuss a person’s activities in order to treat as well as prevent an illness by considering several variables (Fawcett & Desanto-Madeya 2012). These variables include the person’s perceived susceptibility to an illness, perception of disease severity, rational perception of benefits as compared to costs and cues for action (Parahoo 2014). In that case, Gatimu’s case is directly related to the health belief model due to the fact that he will only seek attention when he believes that he is susceptible to the illness. Moreover, he does not perceive his health condition as a critical one and believes that it is a waste of resources. Apparently, cues for action can explain Gatimu’s unwillingness to accept his condition of homosexuality (Beins 2012). Thus, the reason is that his unwillingness and low self-esteem are influenced by those around him.

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