Social class and mental illness
There has been a long-standing interest amongst sociologists in the evidence for a structured social distribution of mental illness within the society.
Members of lower class groups appear to have a greater propensity to enter the mental health services
The close association in the U.K. between the Poor Law system and the asylum system drew much attention to this phenomenon and aroused debate about the linkages
Early studies in social class and mental illness emerged in US, focussing on 1-studying patients and former patients and 2- the general population.
Faris and Dunham (1939) found that in poor areas of Chicago, schizophrenia, alcoholism and organic psychosis was rife.
Explanation: poverty, social isolation and lack of social cohesion.
Faris and Dunham-Lifestyles of the poor did not have health promoting activities which were available to the upper class, this due to high turnover of residence and social disorganisation
Stressed about problems of safety in poorer neighbourhoods. Increased chance of major life events being negative.
Studies have identified that poorer people have to deal with more stressful events, debt, abuse, theft, violence
Social isolation theory of schizophrenia (Faris 1944)no research supports argument that social isolation causes schizophrenia, but it could be argued that schizophrenia is a cause of the isolation.
Gerard and Houston (1953) witnessed that Divorced and single people with diagnosis of schizophrenia moved to inner city area. This suggests a social drift, where people already diagnosed with the illness drift into poverty rather than poverty being the cause. (not necessarily poverty causes mental illness, but mentally ill people move into poverty)
However Hollingshead and Reclich (1958) contested this idea arguing that schizophrenic people do not drift into poorer areas, but in fact found that people in poor areas are more prone to mental illness= social stress is a...
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