SOC363H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Erving Goffman, Social Inequality, High School Dropouts

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Published on 22 Nov 2016
Sociology of Mental Health and Illness: Lecture 911/22/2016 6:16:00
Mirowsky and Ross: Defense vs. Control Theory
Defense Theory: more widely accepted
Main advice in clinical lore and in public discourse
Main distinction: self-blamers (blame themselves for everything,
and are unable to take credit for the good things) vs. self-defenders
(Nothing is their fault)
About tendency people have in order to explain how things happen
Control Theory
Generalized beliefs about causation of like outcomes
Main distinction: Instrumentalists vs. fatalists (see the world as a
strong place, but they are very weak) ***Do you think self blame is
a good idea for your failures
****Categorical Approach:
Basic: Control: instrumentalists less depressed than fatalists
o Defense: Self-defenders less depressed than self-blamers
Dominant: Control: Instrumentalists less depressed than self-
Defense: self-defenders less depressed than instrumentalists
Continuous Approach:
Basic: Control: internal attribution for both success and failure less
depressed than external
o Defense: internal attributions for success less depressed than
internal attributions for failure
Results (Categorical)
Instrumentalists significantly better off than anyone else:
o Relative to both fatalists and self-defenders
o Self-defense doesn’t work, not better than self-blame
o O% of the instrumentalists have depression, other groups are
at 20%
Results (continuous)
o Relationship and Depression:
Personal responsibility for failure -.165
Personal responsibility for success -.174
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o Thus strong control theory holds as does the dominant control
o Think about the implications in daily life
Control vs. Support
This is a fundamental issue: which counts more in explaining social
status differences in mental health
No one does this: this paper takes on an issue most avoid
o Social Resources vs. personal resources
o The inter-relationship between control and support
Note the different arguments for the effects of control and support:
o Control ->active proble solving
o Meaning: 10 not ignoring the problem; 2) figuring out the
cause; 3) doing something about it
The displacement perspective (in conflict):
Support fosters defen and undermines problem-solving
Immobilizing self-jurisdiction
The facilitation Perspective (cumulative):
Support facilitates problem solving
Increases the confidence necessity to cope
Main Issue: Explaining Social Patterns
Evidence: effect are explained if….
o The effect of social status the coefficient---changes as you
add control and support to the model, b/c
Mediation: the influences of social status of the
resource, and that in turn compromises mental health…
The variable that reduces the effect more is the one
that explains the association….
Allowing the forces to flow through a mediator…it soaks
up and takes the pressure off the social inequality
Social Patterns in Depression (table)
Education and Family income both have a negative effect on
Perceived support also has a negative support on education
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Talking to others is positively related to depression (talking to
others make things worse??***)
Don’t test perceived support
Neither control or perceived support do nothing to explain reported
Control and Support Together
Functional substitution perspective supported..
o Means high levels of one reduce the effect of the other
o A picture
o Graph (it only takes one of two to achieve lower
depression…having both does not make it any lower****)
Low control…but high support
Reconsidering Truth as a Coping Resource (Taylor and Brown
Goffman: the importance of a ‘front’: the distance between your
interactional performance and what you really think
The functions of self-deception….
o Also called illusions
Taylor and Brown argue that illusions can be positive for mental
health- even necessary
Note: The conventional wisdom about ‘contact with reality,” dealing
with the truth, affects most clinical theory about coping
o One of the cornerstones of the healthy personality
Interfering with Accuracy in Cognition and Perception
Prior explectation based on experience:
o Can lead to consistent bias in what is even perceived. Values
and beliefs can direct attention to certain kinds of information
Three Illusions
a. Unrealistically Positive Views on the Self.
i. Research shows that individuals favour, remember, a dn give more
importance to positive evalustions of the self than negative
ii. Reseadrch suggests that individuals attribute more positive to self than
the ‘average individual.’
iii. Experiements sho that indivduals rate themselves more positively than
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