Sociology | Advanced Topics: Sociology of Mental Health/Mental Illness (3 CR)
S660 | 11445 | Thoits


1:25PM-3:20PM	W	S7 100
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In general, there are two overarching purposes in this seminar:  to
consider the social antecedents and distributions of psychological
distress and mental disorders, and to appreciate the complexities in
the social organization of mental health care.

This seminar begins with an overview of various ways of conceiving
and measuring mental health and mental illness; examines the social
distributions of psychological distress and mental disorders;
contrasts various theories of the social causes of mental illness,
with special attention to structural strain, stress, and labeling
theories; and examines the nature and consequences of mental illness
stigma.  We will also consider the problem of defining, measuring,
and estimating the prevalence of recovery from distress or disorder,
which may be more common than most laypersons or professionals
believe.

We then turn to issues in the social organization of mental health
care:  classic work on mental hospitals as total institutions; the
rise, nature, and consequences of community treatment programs; the
secondary status of mental health treatment in various types of
health insurance plans and the role of the case manager; the
training and treatment orientations of psychiatrists; the nature of
the patient-therapist relationship, including the relative efficacy
of drug versus talk therapy; and the growth of the consumer movement
among former mental patients.

Students will read both classic and contemporary theoretical and
empirical work on these topics in the seminar.  Students will
develop a detailed research proposal on a topic relevant to the
seminar, drawing on seminar readings and then moving beyond them in
a specific topic area.