New Opportunities New Challenges

In this section, we address directions that may help explain the association between race and mental health. Since a number of excellent reviews of race and health have been written (see for example, Brown, Sellers, Brown, & Jackson, 1999 Ihara & Takeuchi, 2004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001), we focus on some different challenges and opportunities that may prove helpful in the near future. We identify three critical gaps or issues in the literature on race and mental...

Social Integration and Family Adaptation to Childhood Disability The Family School Autism Project

Sam was a full-term baby who appeared normal and healthy at birth. According to his mother, aside from a little colic, Sam's first year of life was uneventful. By age 18 months, however, Sam's family became concerned over his increasing lack of social responsiveness, poor eye contact, and failure to acquire any meaningful speech. When brought to the attention of the family pediatrician, the parents were told not to worry since all children develop differently. By age 2, however, Sam's parents...

Structural Constraints Imposed by Ritualization

According to Fine (1992), ritualization refers to cultural traditions and practices that have accumulated over time and that have become routinized. Ritualization is an important sociological notion that began with Durkheim (Collins & Makowsky, 1989) and that can be seen as related to Bourdieu's (1990) more contemporary notions of practice and habitus. As discussed by Frohlich, Corin, & Potvin (2001), a useful way to make sense of these somewhat abstract concepts in the arena of health...

Life Course Milestones and Turning Points

Most of the statistical techniques used in the social and behavioral sciences estimate the linear relationships between variables. These techniques often accurately model hypothesized relationships (e.g., a dose-response relationship between stress and depression). But not all research questions imply linear relationships and caution is needed to insure that linear models are not estimated in a pro forma way. Some individuals experience events or conditions that are milestones or turning points...

Conclusion

In this chapter, I have examined the contributions of contemporary social theorists to thinking about three broad concerns in the sociology of mental health 1) the social origins of mental distress 2) the nature of mental health and distress and 3) conceptualizing therapeutic practices. I have drawn on three loosely defined theoretical perspectives theorists of individualization, critical theoretical perspectives, and Foucauldian postmodern theories. Each of these perspectives offers a distinct...

References

Amercian Psychiatric Association. (2000). DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC Author. Andres, K., Pfammatter, M., Fries, A., & Brenner, H. D. (2003). The significance of coping as a therapeutic variable for the outcome of psychological therapy in schizophrenia. European Psychiatry, 18, 149-154. Aneshensel, C. S., & Phelan, J. C. (1999). The sociology of mental health Surveying the field. In C. S. Aneschensel & J. C. Phelan (Eds.). Handbook of the sociology of mental health (pp. 3-17). New York...

The Social Origins of Distress

A key insight of the sociology of mental health is that many people who experience mental distress may be responding normally to stressful life circumstances. Accordingly, research in the sociology of mental health has focused attention on the relationship between life conditions and mental health, demonstrating the negative impact of stressful life events as well as ongoing stressful life conditions. Sociologists have also shown that social roles, such as roles involving subordination to...

Societal Reaction Theories

Much of the early interest in the treatment of mental illness was generated by observations of differences in rates of hospitalization by social characteristics. Some researchers located explanations for these differences in the societal reaction to persons defined as deviant (Scheff, 1999). According to Scheff, mental illness was essentially a label applied to persons exhibiting deviant feelings or behaviors. Much of the debate about the validity of labeling theory focused on claims that...