Labelling Theory

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  1. What did Szasz state in 1979?
    • Labelling someone as being mentally ill is nothing more than the medicalisation of madness
    • Using terms such as 'treatment' or 'illness' is a form of social control that robs the individual of their liberty 
    • Labelling people is a way of excluding those who don't conform to social norms
  2. What did Scheff state in 1966?
    • Schizophrenia is a learned social role that is determined by the process of labelling 
    • The label not only influences the person to behave in a manner that fits the label (based on societal stereotypes) but also determines how others interpret their behaviour
  3. How might labelling affect the lifestyle of an individual?
    • They accept their new role as 'crazy' and find it difficult to fit back into normal society 
    • If other people find out about the illness they might be unable to find work, and if they're hospitalised the attention they get reinforces their perception and expectations 
    • The diagnosis creates a self fulfilling prophecy
  4. What did Rosenhan find?
    • Once 'pseudo-patients' had been given the label of schizophrenics their subsequent behaviour was interpreted in a different way 
    • This suggests that labelling has a powerful influence on how others determine someone's behaviour
  5. How does Rosenhan's follow up study support the unreliability of diagnosis?
    • Rosenhan claimed that pseudo patients would attempt to gain entrance to a hospital that knew of his previous study over a 3 month period 
    • Of the 193 admissions 41 were considered to be impostors
    • In reality, Rosenhan sent nobody
  6. How did Rosenhan's study improve the reliability of diagnosis?
    • It prompted a review of the DSMII and caused many psychiatrists to examine their own expectations about mental illness 
    • Szasz would argue that schizophrenia is not a disease and people should not be labelled as such based on a set of behaviours
  7. What did Scheff find in in 1966?
    • Knowing somebody suffers from a psychiatric or psychological disorder creates a stigma
    • This creates feelings of social inadequacy in the person
  8. What are the ethical objections to Rosenhan's study?
    • Staff are being deceived that could lead to guilt and insecurity after the study 
    • The study could lead to staff treating actual patents more harshly and suspiciously afterwards
    • Time with carers is taken away from actual patients and wasted on people without symptoms
  9. What did Spitzer state in 1975?
    • Staff at hospitals could not just turn away patients who turned up with symptoms, they have a duty of care 
    • Most were given the label of 'schizophrenia in remission' which is rarely used and suggests that staff were unconvinced of their illness
  10. How can labelling theory be said to trivialise schizophrenia?
    It suggests that the disease doesn't exist and ignores seriously ill patients with disabling symptoms that require help
  11. What does Labelling theory fail to take into account?
    • How the symptoms arise in the first place 
    • LT only focusses on how the symptoms are maintained 
    • This suggests that other factors such as neurochemicals must be involved
  12. How is labelling theory lacking in practicality?
    • It does not provide viable means of treatment 
    • This means people may remain disordered for the foreseeable future, creating disruption in families that might be unable to cope with the disorder
Card Set
Labelling Theory
AQA PSYB3 Schizophrenia Labelling theory
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