Structural explanations for mental illness

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  • Created by: amber
  • Created on: 10-05-13 12:43

Structural explanations:

Mental illness is real but they look at how is it unequally distributed among different social groups and why this might be. 

  • Class
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
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Class

  • The working class are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses.
  • This is because of the stress of finanical worries.
  • Myers - especially mothers because of poverty(material deprovisation) and increased family stresses.
  • Brown and Harris - studied depression amongst London women and found that 'working class women are more likely to suffer stressful life events than the middle class because they have fewer material resources.
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Age

  • Older people are more likely to be labelled as mentally ill. 
  • Care homes are institutional and carers engage in spurious interaction
  • Older people have to rely on others and lose hope, which confirms mental illness label.
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Gender

  • Women are more likely to experience mental health problems.
  • Feminists blame this on the triple shift(housework,childcare and emotional work)Duncombe and Marsden but women seek help and men don't.
  • Brown - women have stressful lives
  • Busfield - 'pressure' and responsibility.
  • Chester - more likely to be labelled, more medicalisation of conditions through drugs.
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Ethnicity

  • African-carribeans suffer high levels of mental illness and are more likely to be diagnosed as schizophrenic.
  • Nazroo - Suffer more depression but sees this as caused by racism and educational underachievement and/or negative labelling by doctors and psychiatrists.
  • Littlewood and Lipsedge - found that black people are overrepresented in psychiatirc hospitals not because they are more ill but because psychiatrists impose their own idea of normality of black behaviour.
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