Sick Role, Deviance and Labeling

Sick Role, Deviance and Labeling

SICK ROLE, DEVIANCE AND LABELING Kai-Lit Phua,PhD FLMI Associate Professor School of Medicine & Health Sciences Monash University Malaysia Biographical Details Kai-Lit Phua received his BA (cum laude) in Public Health & Population Studies from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Sociology (Medical Sociology) from Johns Hopkins University. He also

holds professional qualifications from the insurance industry. Prior to joining academia, he worked as a research statistician for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and for the Managed Care Department of a leading insurance company in Singapore. He was awarded an Asian Public Intellectual Senior Fellowship by the Nippon Foundation in 2003. What is the Sick Role? Talcott Parsons

Role = behaviour & obligations expected from a person occupying a particular social position e.g. student, daughter, wife, mother, nurse Role conflict Sick role = behaviour & obligations expected from a sick person

Four Aspects of the Sick Role The sick person is not at fault for being sick The sick person is excused from usual (everyday) responsibilities The sick person must get well as soon as possible The sick person must seek professional help

Criticisms of the Sick Role Concept Criticisms Limits of each of the 4 aspects to its application e.g. it is good for a person with an acute disease but not for a person with a chronic disease (such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, arthritis)

Deviance Persistent deviation from generally accepted behaviour or lifestyles Can be contentious as to what is deviant e.g. sub-cultures that are considered deviant by the rest of society (such as bikers and homosexuals)

Response of Others to Deviance 1. Mockery e.g. gender identity disorder 2. Avoidance e.g. HIV/AIDS victims 3. Ostracism/Exile e.g. lepers in Middle Ages 4. Persecution/Discrimination e.g. homosexuals 5. Violence e.g. physical harm, killing of sexual deviants such as homosexuals in Iran 6. Forced medical treatment e.g. drug addicts forced to undergo rehabilitation treatment Labeling Theory

This theory argues that the labeling of someone as deviant will make the person adopt the deviant identity eventually Badness versus Sickness

Badness = deviant (should be punished) Sickness = not bad, but sick (should be treated) Are the Following Examples of Badness or Sickness? Substance abuse e.g. alcoholism Suicide e.g. attempting suicide Personality disorders Sexual deviance e.g. homosexuality, paedophilia Compulsive gambling

Religious or political extremism THE END THANK YOU

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