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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Chapter 19- Health and Medicine
Lecture Notes:
3 Social Causes of Illnesses and Death:
a)Human environmental factors (social class, occupation)
b) Lifestyle factors (smoking, diet)
c)Factors related to public health and health care systems (sewage, safe water, sanitation)
Why does Health deteriorate as move down class hierarchy?
1) High stres s and inability to cope with it
2) Differences in earliest stages of development that have lifelong consequences ex) if poor
circumstances before pregnancy continue on after birth
3) Lack of Knowledge
4) Unequal access to health care
5) Environmental expos ure
-1/6 americans: no access to health care and lack adequate coverage.
Medicalization of deviance- tendency for medical definitions of deviant behavior to become
prevalent over time. Earlier times, labeled evil.
Deviants- chastised (criticize/discipline), punished, and otherwise socially controlled by
members of clergy, neighbours, family, and justice system. What used to defined as badness is
now sickness.
1974- Homosexuality-considered psychiatric disorder for more than a centur y by APA.
Destigmatize homosexuality by activists, it was thus delabeled as mental illness.
Find classification of mental disorders useful (profit for pharmacy companies to make products
claimed to cure conditions/illness)
Cultural context stimulates inf lation in number and scope of mental disorders.
Promoting mental disorders giving rise to overdiagnosis. (ex post traumatic disorder first applied
to Vietnam vets now applied to children who watch action movies)
HMO(health maintenance organization)- pr ivately owned companies. They pursue profit.
Employ 4 main strategies to keep shareholders happy:
1) Avoid covering sick people or people who might become sick
2) Minimize cost of treating sick people, they cant afford covering
3) Inf late diagnosis to maximize profits
4) Keep overhead charges high
DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders)
Beginning of 20
century- only 1 recognized mental disorder: Insanity/imbecility.
By 1975- 106. In 1994- 297.
Depression affects 1 in 4 women, 1 in 10 men.
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