The Sick Role
-a term associated with the functionalist Talcott Parsons to describe the patterns of behavior that a sick person adopts in order to minimize the disruptive impact of his or her illness on others.
-In the Sick Role, the sick person is:
1.) not held personally responsible for his or her poor health
2.) entitled to certain rights and privileges, including being released from normal responsibilities
3.) expected to take sensible steps to regain his health, such as consulting a medical expert and agreeing to become a patient
Evaluation of Sick Role Hypothesis
-cannot apply to people whose illnesses are hidden
-cannot apply to people whose illnesses are dismissed due to gender, race, or class
-cannot apply to people who are thought to be responsible for their health status.
-Sick Role Theory has been updated by Eliot Freidson to include:
The Conditional Sick Role
-this applies to those suffering from a temporary condition
-they are expected to get well fairly soon
-example is a common cold
-someone with bronchitis would be given more time to get better than someone with a common cold
The Unconditionally Legitimate Sick Role
-incurable, terminal diseases or medical conditions
-since there is nothing that these people can do to get well, they are automatically entitled to occupy the sick role
The Illegitimate Sick Role
-HIV/AIDS or other perceived "self inflicted" conditions. These people may be "stigmatized" (devalued due to being a member of a certain group) by others.
Critical Analysis of the Sick Role
-it does not account for cultural differences
-doesn't account for historical changes in illness
-some people now have been diagnosed with illnesses that "appear" to be healthy, and are not granted the benefits of the sick role
-some people with chronic illnesses have fluctuations in their appearance and there may not be a consistent sick role treatment by a confused audience
-a role society has created that defines appropriate behavior for people who are doctors
-society expects doctors to restore the sick back to their normal routines
-they confirm the patient's claim of being sick
-they use their medical training to diagnose and treat any illness
Differential Health Outcomes
-focuses on the health outcome differences depending on class, race, and ethnicity
-focuses on the lack of scientists and researchers from diverse backgrounds-UA just got $10 million from NIH for Elimination of Health Disparities for Minorities
-focuses on the small group reactions and adjustment to illness
-how does illness affect daily life, and sense of self?
-Goffman's Stigma boo
**SENSE OF SELF**- symbolic interactionism- Symbolic interactionist approach approaches: Illness as a "LIVED EXPERIENCE"
Books by Erving Goffman
-the presentation of self in everyday life 1956
-Stigma- Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity 1963
originally referred to body tattoos that were cut or burned into the skin, those considered deviant like slaves, criminals, or traitors; they were thought to be "blemished", "polluted", or "to be avoided"
Notes on Stigma
-Goffman- "society establishes the means of categorizing people and the complement of attributes (****) felt to be ordinary and natural for members of each of these categories.
Notes on Stigma
-people different from others in the extreme could be bad, dangerous, or weak. They are reduced in our minds, from whole and usual people to tainted, discounted ones.
Notes on Stigma
-an attribute (the difference) is a stigma, especially when the discrediting effect is extensive (aka failing, shortcoming, handicap)
relationship between an attribute and a stereotype
Difference between discredited and discreditable people
Goffman said there was one
those who have a differentness that's already known or differentness that is "evident on the spot" (visible handicaps)
have not yet been stigmatized on the basis of their differentness, nor is the differentness immediately perceivable (invisible handicap)
Goffman: 3 Types of Stigma
1.) abominations of the body
2.) blemishes of the individual character
3.) tribal stigma of race, nation, or religion
Examples of the 3 types of stigma
1.) handicaps; visible handicap; (disfigurement, disability or obesity)
2.) values, etc. like a cheater or liar; not visible but flaws
3.) race or what group one identifies with
- Symbolic interactionist approach approaches: Illness as a "LIVED EXPERIENCE"
excessive body weight, indicated by a body mass index (BMI) over 30
703 x (weight)/height squared
-starvation: less than 16.5
-morbidly obese: greater than 40
Body mass index
BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight
sociology of the body
a field that focuses on how our bodies are affected by social influences. Health and illness, for instance, are determined by social and cultural influences
sociology of sexuality
a field that explores and debates the importance of biological versus social and cultural influences on human sexual behavior
"a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"
the study of the distribution and incidence of disease and illness within a population
one's capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions
Most HIV positive people are in Sub Saharan Africa, 20.9-24.2 million people
an irrational fear or disdain for homosexuals
Socialization of nature
a process in which phenomena that used to be "natural" or given in nature become social, in that they depend on our personal decisions; example- childbirth
techniques for influencing the human reproductive process; example- women using technology to help have kids later in life
a standard measure of a country's economic disparity where 0 represents perfect equality (everyone has the same income) and 1 represents maximum inequality
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
a diverse set of approaches and therapies for treating illness and promoting well being that generally falls outside standard medical practices
Biomedical model of health
defines diseases objectively, in accordance with the presence of recognized symptoms and believes that the healthy body can be restored through scientifically based medical treatment
refers to the activities involved in managing the condition like treating pain, diagnostic test or PT
management of daily life like maintain relationships, household things, work or personal interests
process of incorporating the illness into one's life, making sense of it, and developing ways of explaining it to others; can help very ill people restore meaning and order to their lives.