SAGE Journal Articles

Journal Article 14.1: Horwitz, A. V. (2011). Creating an age of depression: The social construction and consequences of the major depression diagnosis. Society and Mental Health, 1(1), 41–54. doi:10.1177/2156869310393986
Abstract: One type of study in the sociology of mental health examines how social and cultural factors influence the creation and consequences of psychiatric diagnoses. Most studies of this kind focus on how diagnoses emerge from struggles among advocacy organizations, economic and political interest groups, and professionals. In contrast, intraprofessional dynamics rather than external pressures generated perhaps the major transformation resulting from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition, diagnostic revolution in 1980—the rise of Major Depressive Disorder as the central diagnosis of the psychiatric profession. Other interests, including the drug industry and advocacy groups, capitalized on the features of this diagnosis only after its promulgation. The social construction of depression illustrates how social and cultural processes can have fundamental influences over diagnostic processes even in the absence of struggles among forces external to the mental health professions. It also indicates how diagnoses themselves can have major professional, economic, political, and social consequences.
Learning Objective: 14.2: Use the symbolic interaction perspective to show that illness is a social construction.
Summary: The U.S. has seen a rise in cases of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) since the 1980s. This article looks at the cultural and social based roots of diagnostic procedures for MDD and its impact on society at large.

Journal Article 14.2: Perry, B. L. (2011, Dec 5). The labeling paradox: Stigma, the sick role and social networks in mental illness. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 52(4), 460–477. doi:10.1177/0022146511408913
Abstract: Although research supports the stigma and labeling perspective, empirical evidence also indicates that a social safety net remains intact for those with mental illness, recalling the classic “sick role” concept. Here, insights from social networks theory are offered as explanation for these discrepant findings. Using data from individuals experiencing their first contact with the mental health treatment system, the effects of diagnosis and symptoms on social networks and stigma experiences are examined. The findings suggest that relative to those with less severe affective disorders, individuals with severe diagnoses and more visible symptoms of mental illness have larger, more broadly functional networks, as well as more supporters who are aware of and sympathetic toward the illness situation. However, those with more severe diagnoses are also vulnerable to rejection and discrimination by acquaintances and strangers. These findings suggest that being formally labeled with a mental illness may present a paradox, simultaneously initiating beneficial social processes within core networks and detrimental ones among peripheral ties.
Learning Objective: 14.3: Describe the role of the sick person.
Summary: Perry examines the social networks of patients having their first interaction with the mental health system. She found that the expectations of the role of the sick person are mediated by the severity of the diagnosis.

Journal Article 14.3: Harris, R. L. (2003). Globalization and development in Latin America: Economic integration, health, labor and popular mobilization. Journal of Developing Societies, 19(2–3), 90–113. doi:10.1177/0169796X0301900201
Abstract: In this brief introductory essay, the main themes and issues addressed by the contributions to this collection of essays are analyzed within the current setting of globalization and development in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The region is undergoing profound transformations at all levels and in all sectors—in its economic, social, cultural and political relations and at the subnational, national, and international levels. This introduction discusses the context and provides an overview of the most important issues addressed in depth by the various contributors to the collection, particularly the issues associated with regional economic integration, health, labor, subnational development, and popular mobilization.
Learning Objective: 14.5: Describe how globalization influences health care issues at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
Summary: The authors introduce economic and health care issues associated with globalization throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.