Whereas there are no clear-cut causes of mental illnesses, i is obvious that a lot of non-psychological factors play a crucial role. Fr instance, tere is a strong correlation between a person’s genetic make-up, ad chances of development of mood or psychotic disorders. Cnversely, pychological factors such as stress have a strong relation to enhanced predisposition to physical illnesses (O’Connor 2002, p There are two key sociological approaches to the study of mental illnesses; te positivist approach and interactionist approach. Te positivist or functionalist approach to mental illnesses matches the medical definitions of mental illnesses objectively or as a disease.
Te approach explores the distribution of mental illnesses among diverse groups within the society and seeks to ascertain its causes. Tis approach examines the mental illnesses in terms of the social organization and the position of individuals within the social structure (Aneshensel & Phelan 1999, pSocial judgments on deviance arise from societal gender stereotypes. I society, wmen are stereotyped as being weak and passive; tus, wen deviant or aggressive, i is most likely to be interpreted as irrational in need of psychiatry treatment.
Mn’s deviance, o the other hand, i most probably to be seen as intentional and dangerous, ad hence, teir behaviours are inclined to be labelled as criminal rather than mentally ill (Walker 2006, p Interactionists perceive stereotyping as the cause of the increased rates of mental illnesses among stereotyped groups such as women, yung people, o racially discriminated groups. The stereotyped groups are likely to be labelled as dangerous by the police and the courts, ad will most probably be referred to psychiatric assessments.
interactionist approach to mental illness views mental illnesses as not necessarily a disease or medical condition, bt rather a social construct; atag bestowed on some individuals by others (psychiatrists) who possess the authority to do so. Iteractionists concentrate on the labelling process that leads to definition of a person as mentally ill best exhibited by Rosenham’s pseudo patient experiment, i which researchers gained admissions into a mental hospital by pretending to be mentally ill. Te staff interpreted their behaviours as symptoms of mental illness, rgardless of the fact that said behaviours were false.
Te social construction of deviant...
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