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Outcomes in the Sociology of Mental Health and Illness: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?
Allan V. Horwitz
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 43, No. 2, Selecting Outcomes for the Sociology of Mental Health: Issues of Measurement and Dimensionality (Jun., 2002), pp. 143-151
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090193
Page Count: 9
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Sociologists of mental health and illness have traditionally used outcome measures that they have obtained from other disciplines, especially psychiatry and psychology. These include official statistics, symptom scales, and diagnostic measures. Answers to the central sociological question of how social arrangements affect mental health might require the development of explicitly sociological outcome measures. This introduction provides an overview of several issues that arise in grappling with this question. These include whether symptom scales or diagnoses best capture the mental health consequences of social arrangements; when single or multiple outcomes are necessary to compare the consequences of social arrangements across different groups; if sociologists should explore the positive as well as the negative consequences of social forces; and when sociological attention should be directed toward social-level as well as individual-level outcomes. The papers in this symposium that follow provide more detailed analyses of each of these issues.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior © 2002 American Sociological Association