Sociology of Mental Disorder (7th Edition)

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9780131928534: Sociology of Mental Disorder (7th Edition)
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This book presents the major issues and research findings found in the abundant sociological literature on mental disorder. Offering a complete review of the field of mental health from a sociological (rather than psychiatric) perspective, this book incorporates the most current data and research findings available–including the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For sociologists, psychologists, and other professionals interested in the latest research findings in the field of mental health.

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Overview of the field, emphasizing the application of sociological theory to problems of mental health.

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Preface

This book presents the major issues and research findings found in the abundant sociological literature on mental disorder. Although a subfield of medical sociology, the study of mental health is a significant area of sociological inquiry. Numerous books and research papers have been published by sociologists on mental problems. For example, a contents analysis of the American Sociological Association's Journal of Health and Social Behavior for the past several years discloses that nearly as many articles are published on some aspect of mental health as are published on physical health. Medical sociologists constitute one of the largest groups of scholars in sociology worldwide. The focus on mental health issues by many scholars has not only resulted in a large volume of research; it has also increased the number of courses taught on this subject in universities. The fifth edition of this book represents a continuing effort to summarize and analyze the direction of the field.

The title of this book, Sociology of Mental Disorder, reflects its contents and orientation. I used the word "disorder" in the title rather than "illness" because illness is a medical term that involves consideration of topics focusing more or less exclusively on medicine and biology rather than the social features of mentally disordered behavior. I don't use the phrase "mental health" because mental health can be positive or negative, and sociologists typically study the negative features of mental health as a phenomenon causing disruptions or disorder in social relationships. Consequently, the term "mental disorder" more accurately reflects sociological concerns.

Although the conclusions expressed in this book are solely the responsibility of the author, other individuals provided extremely helpful comments. A note of appreciation is due to the following colleagues who contributed comments on the various editions of this book: John Collette, University of Utah; Gary A. Cretser, California Polytechnic University (Pomona); Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Robert Emerick, San Diego State University; Hugh Floyd, University of New Orleans; John W. Fox, University of Northern Colorado; David D. Franks, Virginia Commonwealth University; Sharon Guten, Case Western Reserve University; Michael Hughes, Virginia Polytechnic and State University; John E. Johnson, SUNY-Plattsburgh; Jeffrey Kamakahi, University of Central Arkansas; Matt Kinkley, Lima Technical College; Michael Radelet, University of Florida; Frederick O. Rasmussen, Rutgers University; Paul Roman, Tulane University; Martha L. Shwayder, Metropolitan State University; Neil J. Smelser, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford; Stephen P. Spitzer, University of Minnesota; Raymond Weinstein, University of South Carolina at Aiken; R. Blair Wheaton, University of Toronto; and Mark Winton, University of Central Florida.

William C. Cockerham
Birmingham, Alabama

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