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Exploring the Sociology Behind Mental Illness

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by

Andreas Pavlou

on 7 January 2015

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Transcript of Exploring the Sociology Behind Mental Illness

Methods
Thank You!
Research Questions
1. What do high school students consider symptoms and proper treatments for mental illnesses?

2. How easily will people admit that mental illness patients are treated differently than an average person?

3. What are the trends between a student’s views on mental illnesses and their race and/or gender, and why do they exist?

4. Why doesn’t society harbor awareness for mental illness in the same way that they do for the flu, chickenpox, or STDs?

5 When should society draw the line between a mental illness and deviant social behavior?

6. How does the conflict theory and symbolic interactionism work for or against mental illness patients?


Data Collection
In order to conduct this research, data was mainly collected through surveys, personal observation and interviews. Interviews were conducted either in person or over the phone, and surveys were done at random in school, with volunteers recruited from various classes, clubs and grades.
Breakdown of Sample Size:
Total Number: 30 Students
15 male, 15 female
7 Black, 4 White, 10 Asia, 4 Hispanic and 5 Mixed

Hypothesis
Based on the research conducted it is predicted that a majority of high school students aged 14-18 will downplay the severity of mental illnesses, and doubt the effectiveness of modern mental illness treatments. This may be in part due to gender, cultural values and teachings, personal experiences,or sheer ignorance of the broad and dangerous scope of sickness that falls under the umbrella term "mental illness." It is also predicted that the survey data will reflect society’s apprehension towards openly treating such diseases effectively.
Question 1: What is your gender?
Although there are very few gender specific mental illnesses, there are various trends that exist.
Gender is a huge determinant for self empowerment
Women have less power to gain treatment, especially in less developed areas
Woman are more likely suffer from mental disorders because of gender violence.
Men are three times more likely to suffer from alcohol dependence
Question 2: What is your race?
Hypothesis and Methodology
By: Andreas Pavlou
Exploring the Sociology Behind Mental Illness
15/30 Participants identified as male
15/30 Participants identified as female
0/30 Participants identified as other
Like gender, race too plays a role in the way mental illness affects a person
African Americans are four times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than Whites in a similar in-patient setting.
A study in the 1990s showed that African Americans were less likely to receive voluntary out-patient services and more likely to be institutionalized.
Do you have any experience with mental illnesses or mental illness patients?
Symbolic Interactionism
Symbolic interactionism states that sociological perspectives are largely based on personal interactions
This question allows us to speculate how many people are basing their answers on actual experience rather than assumptions.
Which of the Following Do You Think Can Be Symptoms of Mental Illness?
Functionalism and Alcohol and Drug Abuse
According to the functionalist theory society is an interdependent system, and when something is not functioning accordingly, society must adapt to restore equilibrium.
Alcohol and drug abuse is the only symptom here that disturbs the equilibrium
Family, Work, Friends, and the Individual are all affected by Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Which of the following are suitable treatments for mental illness?
Discussion Question 1 : What are the social and behavioral differences between men and woman, and how can they affect the way mental illness manifests?
Although this is not depicted in the graph, more males than females supported the use of pills as treatment-Why is this so?
Discussion Question 2: Why are people so weary of institutions and hospital treatments, and where does this assumption come from if half the sample has no experience with mental illnesses?
To What Extent does each Disease Impact Someone's Life? Rate from 1-5
Interestingly enough, high school students demonstrated a basic understanding of disease severity.
Schizophrenia, heart disease and eating disorders were the top 3 "worst" diseases.
Discussion Question 3: Consistently, Asians and Hispanics rated diseases about half a point lower than the African American, White and Mixed sample size. Speculate as to why this may be.
Are mental illnesses really "illnesses" or just "disorders" or deviations?"
87% of participants (16/30) claimed that mental illnesses are real
13% of participants (4/30) claimed that mental illnesses are just disorders/deviations
Dr. Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist published a series of very controversial books against the existence of mental illness. His most notable publication, The Myth of Mental Illness, received much criticism and discussion in the 1950s-60s. He eventually lost his credibility as a professional after affiliating himself with the Church of Scientology.
Discussion Question 4: What may lead someone to doubt the existence of mental illness?
Question 8
Do you treat people with mental illnesses differently?
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
It is quite important to note through the conflict theory, mental illness patients can be considered an oppressed group. However there is gray area when one asks if it is oppressive to treat them differently, or if it is oppressive to treat them like those who are mentally well.
Discussion Question 5: Is treating mental illness patients differently or equally more justifiable and why?
"Human error is inevitable in any circumstance, including what appear to be a solid diagnosis"-Interviewee 4
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