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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A Social response perspective on treatment allocation in psychiatry Keeley, Kathryn Marie


Huge mental hospitals are being replaced by smaller psychiatric units in medium and even small community hospitals. This biomedical setting results in pressure to adopt a more biological focus for treatment. It is, therefore, imperative that hospital psychiatry develop an alternative model which retains the social context of mental illness. Social response theory is used to analyze the research findings and to emphasize the need for a social perspective in the development of hospital psychiatry, for institutional health care planning, and for society as a whole. In this study, a cohort of 108 patients admitted to a community hospital psychiatric unit were studied for a period of 2 and 1/2 months. A blend of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. It was found that patient social characteristics, the organization of work, unit norms and community resources were interactive pressures which affected treatment allocation. The study concludes that social response theory is useful in understanding the relationship between treatment allocation and social processes that center around the social characteristics of the patient institution and the community.

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