SOC363H1- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 20 pages long!)

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Published on 4 Oct 2017
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SOC363H1
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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SOC363 September 7th
Kasi Sewraj
Main purpose: Detailing how society can shape what ‘mental health’ is defined as, and the
consequences of having mental health.
Most people who have mental illness don’t see them self as having one, nor do they by
their peer group
Not a lot seek treatment influenced by social characteristics and stigmas
o Women more likely to seek treatment then men
Diagnosis depends on race and gender
o Sociocultural factors can shape ideas on how we can treat disorders
(psychotherapy)
Mental Illness or Social Construction?
Main question: Is mental illness a social construction, and is it due to psychiatry?
We know there are strange behaviours in all human cultures and historical periods
MEDICAL MODEL: Employed by psychiatry, views mental illness as disease
o Mental disorders are a disease like condition that can be explained by biology literally
a physical state
o Signs and symptoms that discuss the pathology (cause and effect of diseases)
o Assumes distinct differences they either have the disorder or they don’t
o Diverts attention away from sources of deviance and focuses on things that are internal to
an individual
MEDICALIZATION MODEL: Employed by sociology, views mental illness as medicalizing aspects
of everyday life
Sadness after losing a spouse or something may be categorized, as depression but is a normal
response
Views of Normality (Horowitz)
We can only know what is abnormal/a mental disorder when we know what is normal. Normality
is determined by social values:
1. Impossible to define normality because it is a social construct determined by social values
2. What is normal is what is most common statistical distribution
3. Normal is what is able to adapt to your specific environmental situation that is adaptive to
you
Therefore: mental disorders are present when we are not adapted properly to our environment
Mental Illness as a Social Construction
1. Mental illness comes in many different ways at is not useful to be talked about as one
thing
2. Mental illness depends on the context of the situation if there is a reasonable
explanation for something it shouldn’t be mental illness
3. Mental illness can be seen differently and met with different tolerance depending on the
person’s characteristics and the characteristics of the observer
o Your parents don’t see you as crazy because they don’t want to consider you
mentally ill
o Line between eccentricity and insanity is not fixed
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Constructionist view: Mental illness does not materially exist; it is only an abstract concept that is
inferred using subjective and arbitrary standards
Argument against the categorical approach: Categories are a precondition for classifying anyone
to have a condition sociocultural context is imposed on a state (Szasz aka crazy old guy who
says psychiatry isn’t real)
o Mental illness is experienced in all cultures and times suggests that this social construction
is connected to objective reality
Medical Model
o Diagnoses are defined by clinically meaningful clusters of signs and symptoms supposed
to enhance diagnoses for DSM III
o No organic pathology for most disorders no phenotype markers or physiology
o When using drugs that alter brain chemistry, the remedy authenticates the disease
Don’t know that it is biological just because drugs help it
Debate over Diagnosis
Psychiatrists: You either have the disease or you don't
Sociologists: You’re on a continuum
o Sociologists prefer the dimensional approach
Diagnostic Interview Schedule: Highly structured interviews that are supposed to show diagnoses
by answering standardized questions
o For assessing mental health status in US and introduced with DSM III
o Causes rectifying of diagnostic categories treat observable things with hypothetical
labels and diverts attention away from the cause of the disorder
o Saying that the biological aspect is non existent
o Appropriate normal behaviours by medicalizing them
Author main point: It is best to use both categorical and dimensional approaches when
diagnosing patients they do not negate or override each other
1. Items indicative to distress for depression are dimensional but somatic symptoms are more
dimensional
a. Distress reflects self regulatory system when confronted with adverse situations
b. Involuntary defeat syndrome dramatic shift in biological functioning disrupting
circadian rhythms
c. This is an explanation but there is no validation for it
2. Categorical model is better for
a. Melancholia
b. Eating disorders
c. Schizotypal and APD
3. Dimensional models better for
a. MDD
b. GAD
c. Depression
d. PTSD
o Categorical diagnoses may be better for professional communication, clinical decision
making and normalizing people to distinguish patients
o People talk about depression as different than normal sadness because of the
medicalization of depression they think they are discontinuous
Medicalization of Deviance
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Document Summary

Main question: is mental illness a social construction, and is it due to psychiatry: we know there are strange behaviours in all human cultures and historical periods. Medicalization model: employed by sociology, views mental illness as medicalizing aspects of everyday life. Sadness after losing a spouse or something may be categorized, as depression but is a normal response. We can only know what is abnormal/a mental disorder when we know what is normal. Therefore: mental disorders are present when we are not adapted properly to our environment. Constructionist view: mental illness does not materially exist; it is only an abstract concept that is inferred using subjective and arbitrary standards. Psychiatrists: you either have the disease or you don"t. Sociologists: you"re on a continuum: sociologists prefer the dimensional approach. Author main point: it is best to use both categorical and dimensional approaches when diagnosing patients they do not negate or override each other.

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