An Outline of Sociology As Applied to Medicine by David L. Armstrong

By David L. Armstrong

Because the final version of this publication, released in 1983, the textual content has been rewritten and rearranged to offer an up to date evaluate of the topic. The emphasis is on offering a framework for knowing the connection among overall healthiness care and the society during which it happens

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3. The manifestations of mental illness are principally in changed behaviour, and as labelling too may lead to altered behaviour, it may be difficult to distinguish the relative effects of the mental illness itself from the effects of the labelling. The importance given to the effects of labelling in psychiatry varies from psychiatrist to psychiatrist. Most would now acknowledge its value in explaining some psychiatric problems; some go so far as to suggest that it can explain all psychiatric morbidity.

Methodological difficulties 1. To show a relationship between say, stress and ill health, it is necessary to measure both variables, and then see if they correlate. To allow for the influence of other factors it is usual to have a control group which does not experience the threat and whose rate of illness is then compared with the experimental group. Such research designs can immediately create problems because 'natural experiments' in which a random population is stressed and a random population is not stressed, are hard to find.

But does it? Most of the people who have bouts of depression during the past five years do not commit suicide. And what of the last four years of contentment? Why does a depressive episode of a few months' duration several years ago matter more than the recent mood? The answer is that the present is comprehended and interpreted by reference to the past - if necessary distorting the past to make it justify the present. In many ways a doctor's notes are distortions of past events because they are selective.

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