S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Bulletin of the Population and Development Studies Center Vol.18 (1989)
Social Class and Health Services Use in Korea
- Cho, Sung-Nam
- Issue Date
- Bulletin of the Population and Development Studies Center, Vol.18, pp. 12-37
- This study examines social class differences of health services use in Korea, focusing on such issues as the amount of use, types of services, and purposes of using particular types of services, as well as the illness experienced by different social classes. The data set used in the study was drawn from a small sample survey conducted by the author ill Seoul in 1986. The findings show that the higher class people had more acute illness, while the lower class had more chronic cases. Moreover, the higher class people used health services more than the lower class. It is also clear from the different hypothetical situations as well as actual use of health servies that people in the higher classes were more likely to use physicians, while the lower class tended to seek pharmacies. Visiting physicians is the primary source of care for most of people in the new middle class and petty bourgeoisie. Although the proportion of the working class who used physician services has been increasing, pharmacies are still the primary source of care for the lower class in Korea. For symptoms such as a sudden feeling of weakness and joint pains, the respondents, regardless of social class, preferred to use Chinese medicine. In terms of actual utilization, however, the higher class people used Chinese medicine more often than the lower classes, although social class difference in the use of. Chinese medicine was not as large as the differences in the use of physicians and pharmacies. However, it was found that the higher classes were more likely to use Chinese medicine, for the purpose of maintaining good health while the lower class people used mostly acupuncture for symptom relief and treatment of acute problems.
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