Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Medical Sociology and the Study of Severe Mental Illness: Reflections on Past Accomplishments and Directions for Future Research

Judith A. Cook and Eric R. Wright
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Extra Issue: Forty Years of Medical Sociology: The State of the Art and Directions for the Future (1995), pp. 95-114
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2626959
Page Count: 20
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Medical Sociology and the Study of Severe Mental Illness: Reflections on Past Accomplishments and Directions for Future Research
Preview not available

Abstract

Over the past 40 years, the mental health care system has been radically transformed from one focused on institutionalized care to one centered on treatment in community settings. While medical sociology has played a prominent role in the study of psychiatric hospitalization and the deinstitutionalization process, the systematic exploration of the sociological dimensions of community-based mental health care is only just beginning. This essay reflects on past disciplinary contributions and explores some important empirical and theoretical directions in the field of mental illness research that could benefit from more extensive sociological analysis. The central argument is that the shift to a community-based mental health system has increased the need for the sociological perspective and that medical sociologists, in particular, have the theoretical and analytical perspective essential for developing a more complete understanding of the current conditions impacting the lives of people with severe mental disorders. Drawing on recent work in medical sociology, we illustrate some important topical areas at the center of controversies over treatment, social change, and public policy regarding severe mental illness. We conclude with a discussion of the barriers to this type of sociological research and suggestions for ways medical sociologists might contribute to the study of severe mental disorders in the future.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
95
    95
  • Thumbnail: Page 
96
    96
  • Thumbnail: Page 
97
    97
  • Thumbnail: Page 
98
    98
  • Thumbnail: Page 
99
    99
  • Thumbnail: Page 
100
    100
  • Thumbnail: Page 
101
    101
  • Thumbnail: Page 
102
    102
  • Thumbnail: Page 
103
    103
  • Thumbnail: Page 
104
    104
  • Thumbnail: Page 
105
    105
  • Thumbnail: Page 
106
    106
  • Thumbnail: Page 
107
    107
  • Thumbnail: Page 
108
    108
  • Thumbnail: Page 
109
    109
  • Thumbnail: Page 
110
    110
  • Thumbnail: Page 
111
    111
  • Thumbnail: Page 
112
    112
  • Thumbnail: Page 
113
    113
  • Thumbnail: Page 
114
    114