9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

DRAFT 2009-02-18 18:09:08

The main objective of this investigation is to analyse the effects of the social structure on the unequal patterns of morbidity and mortality in Portugal. The inequality distribution of the diseases and the causes of death, reveals a structure of social inequalities based in the differentiated possibilities in the access and in the use of health resources. For this purpose, the present research is already placed in two different and heterogeneous regions of Portugal. One, in an urban and developed region (Lisbon), and the other, in a poor and rural region (Alentejo). Alentejo has the lowest life expectation in Portugal. The objective is to compare different social structures, under the hypothesis that the geographical inequalities in health are also a reflex of geographical social inequalities. The methodology is based in a complementary of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Empirical investigation is located on the individual level, based on the reading of the ?Hospital Individual Clinical Process? of people who died in 2004, from two hospitals. One located in Lisbon and the other in Alentejo. In each ?Clinical Process? social and health dimensions are being collected and analysed. Social dimensions based on indicators like professions, education skills or housing conditions, and health dimensions based on type of diseases, hospital admissions, causes and age of death. Currently, the first part of the investigation is almost finished with the reading of approximately 1100 cases from Alentejo, and 1200 from Lisbon. So far the analyses of the information confirmed the central hypotheses. People located in a higher social class have a higher expectation of life and different types of diseases.