Critical Analysis of Case Study of Carla’s Family and Social Determinants

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What are the characteristics of the individuals in this case study?

Carla was born in a small mining town and was raised by her aunt after the death of her parents when she was only little. Carla is a 54 year- old woman experiencing health inequity, thus resulting in her family’s lack of education, limited employment opportunities, low socioeconomic status and restricted access to healthcare resources. People living in rural and remote areas generally experience poorer health outcomes than people living in metropolitan areas for example; ‘54% of people living in rural and remote areas have one or more chronic diseases compared with 48% of those in major cities (AIHW, 2017). This can be seen through Carla’s daughter, Annie developing gestational diabetes during her pregnancy and Carla’s ex-husband John, later on, suffers from depression. Carla’s family is experiencing poor health due to a lack of sustainable income and being socially isolated from one another. It is clear within the case study that John and Annie are completely dependent upon Carla, causing an immense amount of stress for her to handle whilst providing money and food for her family. Carla does not own a car, so she has been eating toast for dinner to save up enough money for public transport to visit her daughter in the city. This would not only affect her physical health due to not getting enough of the proper nutrients she needs but is also taking a toll on her mental health. ‘54,000 fewer deaths would occur if all Australians had the same death rates as people living in the highest socioeconomic areas in 2009-11’ (AIHW,2018).

What are the social determinants of health that are evident in the case study?

The determinants of health are the social, economic and political conditions in which people grow, live, age and work. The social determinants of health are the ‘causes of ill health and emphasize social context, social stratification, the differential exposure people experience and their vulnerability to illness and injury’ (Baum, 2008, p.588). Economic and social determinants are clearly evident within this case study for example, Carla’s geographical location affects her education, leading to limited social and economic opportunities. Carla is experiencing chronic poverty with a constant lack of money for basic necessities, food and quality of housing. This has then been passed down to her children creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty with poor health outcomes (Understanding Health, p.26). Carla is unemployed impacting her psychologically with the amount of stress she is undergoing to try stay afloat. Another barrier to Carla’s health is the lack of affordable transport, meaning she is unable to access health services and go to stores with organic produce which then in turn creates social isolation. Carla and her family’s early childhood played a major role in their vulnerability to poverty and unemployment, portraying the vast amount of inequity experienced in the world. From her early childhood, Carla has been experiencing problems due to her financial and socio-economic status. Her ex-husband used to assist her financially but he later suffered from a head injury, stopping him from providing financial aid to the family. This lead to be a great burden upon Carla and found it even harder to find employment as needs of the family changed. Now that Carla’s daughter is pregnant, she is unable to provide her with medical assistance due to lack of financial capability. Food and nutrition are major contributors to health, this can be seen through Carla’s diet where she eats toast for dinner to save money to visit her daughter. This shows that Carla is food insecure impacting her physical, mental and social well-being and her ability to work. ‘People who are food insecure experience financial incapacity to purchase food and subsequently are at risk of a range of consequences including hunger, malnutrition and distress’ (Understanding Health, p.29).

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Critical Analysis of Case Study of Carla’s Family and Social Determinants. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
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