Reading Response 3 - Kamille Pickens SOCY 4168 Reading...

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Kamille Pickens SOCY 4168 February 13, 2012 Reading Response: Chapters 6 & 8 Being that norms, beliefs, and values vary across cultures, the definitions of mental health and illness follow suit, making an optimal definition seemingly impossible. Mental health is described by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease’. Mental and social well-being proves to be difficult to define based on cultural norms, beliefs and expectations due to the fact that deviant behavior is defined differently. The sociological anomie theory of deviance by Robert Merton aids in developing this idea. Merton argued that in America success and wealth is what American culture values. So an individual who rejects this value and chooses to be poor will be considered deviant/rebels, and given a mental illness label of some sort. A person who chooses to be wealthy, and subsequently works diligently for it, will be viewed as a normal conformist, and given no negative label.
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