• Marianne Kold Hansen
4. semester, Sociologi (cand.scient.soc), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Studies have demonstrated that differential treatment of people with mental illnesses is an issue in today’s society. They further show that this differential treatment can have implications for the identity of the sick and their feeling of self-worth. Thus, the aim of this master thesis is to enhance the existing knowledge of how women diagnosed with schizophrenia or depression handle differential treatment. In addition, I wish to investigate which turning points they experience in understanding their identity during the course of their illness.
The master thesis is based on the adaptive approach to scientific research and I will focus on the three orienting concepts differential treatment, identity and turning points. Following this approach I will utilize different theoretical views when interpreting the results. These views include Anselm L. Strauss’ interpretation of turning points, and his understanding of change, David A. Karp’s five stages in the course of depression, Bruce G. Link and Jo C. Phelan’s definition of ‘stigma’ and Erving Goffman’s theory of normality and deviation.
The thesis is a qualitative study and the data consists of four interviews with women diagnosed with schizophrenia and four interviews with women diagnosed with depression. All the women are between the age of 23 and 29.
The analysis reveal that regardless of the diagnosis the women sometimes feel that they are being held in the sick role and sometimes that there are expected too much of them. Thus, the analysis has revealed an ambivalence in the positive differential treatment. However, the women understand the dilemma their relatives are facing in relation to take care of them and they try to be open about their needs.
In addition, some of the women have experienced differential treatment based on stigma, which in turn have influenced their feeling of self-worth. Because most of the women fear stigma at their work-place or when they meet new people they are not open about their diagnosis.
Often diagnosis and hospitalization acts as turning points in the women’s understanding of themselves and their illness. Getting the diagnosis is for some a relief because they are getting an explanation for their early symptoms. Others feel that the diagnosis is placing them in a deviant category. When it comes to being hospitalized most women have formed negative stereotypes. Some have later changed their feelings about hospitalization as the place of hospitalization forms a resting place where they are not forced to act normal. The women are in different ways trying to get
a grip at the identity as a mentally ill person and to get recognition. There are basically two strategies for getting recognition and that is to ‘normalize’ the illness itself or to strive for normalization by acting as normal as possible.
In the society schizophrenia is considered more deviant than depression which makes people with schizophrenia more focused on what is considered normal.
Udgivelsesdato1 mar. 2015
Antal sider91
Ekstern samarbejdspartnerPsykInfo Midt
Bibliotikar & informationsmedarbejde Line Gry Christensen Line.Gry.Christensen@ps.rm.dk
ID: 208219996