A Utilitarian Perspective of Social and Medical Contributions to Three Illustrative Conditions, and Recent UK NHS Policy Initiatives

Middleton, Hugh and Shaw, Ian (2007) A Utilitarian Perspective of Social and Medical Contributions to Three Illustrative Conditions, and Recent UK NHS Policy Initiatives. Journal of Mental Health, 16 (3). pp. 291-305.

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Abstract

Background: To date debate concerning the relative merits of social and medical sciences has been

largely academic.

Aims: To outline and critically appraise a utilitarian approach to mental health research that reflects a

critical realist perspective.

Method: Consideration of the relative utility of differing approaches to illustrative ‘‘psychiatric’’

disorders, and recent policy initiatives.

Results: Socially relevant outcomes of Bipolar Affective Disorder are determined by influences that

operate independently of the characteristic instability of mood. There is now a highly specific and

effective psychological treatment for Panic Disorder. Its benefits are still not fully exploited because of

continuing lay and professional focus upon the condition’s social manifestations. Great numbers of

people presenting in primary care are unhelpfully caused to adopt the role of ‘‘patient’’ due to practices

limiting the professional response to a medical one. Such practices reflect public and professional

perceptions of the nature of ‘‘mental health difficulties’’ much more than they do the achievements of

medicine. Recent policy-supporting initiatives influencing UK NHS mental health services are much

more likely to be supported by social sciences than by medical research.

Conclusions: There is considerable scope for a contribution to applied mental health research from

frameworks and methodologies that are rooted in a social sciences perspective.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social sciences, medical sciences, NHS mental health services
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Depositing User: Middleton, Dr. Hugh
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2008 14:16
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2008 00:00
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/791

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