Case Study John's Stress Theory

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1. John’s mental illness led him to change his perspective of himself. We see that he becomes very pessimistic, compulsive, and constantly analyzing his relationship with his girlfriend thinking that she was bored with him. We also saw that he spent a lot of his time focusing on what he had done wrong in his life. Because of his mental illness, John was held behind while his friends all graduated college and moved on so he felt lonely and isolated and his problems came back and he went into an institution. The process of going into the institution seem to have affected him in a way that the outside world seemed ‘problematic’ to him while inside the institution he was starting to get back to his former self. As we have talked about this …show more content…
Johns mother went into severe long term depression following her getting divorced from John’s father who had left to start a new life for himself and his new girlfriend who was a former colleague. From class we could use the stress theory from to explain her situation. From the stress theory from Selye, we learned that prolonged exposure to negative stress produces illness. Divorce is a long process and the addition of the husband being with someone else would cause a lot of negative stress for her. So it would make sense she had a breakdown. From the stress theory from Holmes & Rahe, we learned that major life events can cause a breakdown and John’s mother was definitely going through a major life event with the divorce and her husband having another woman. Also later on after the divorce there were other stressful events occurring in her life that could have added to this. For example, there was work stress and her son having to deal with a mental illness. From the chapter we could look at Brown and Harris’ model of depression (specifically their graph on page 158). Their model says that depression occurs if other factors are present. In the case of John’s mother we could follow the path in the graph that starts with Background Social Factors on to recent provoking agents then to clinical depression. These recent provoking agents would of course be the divorce and the husband having another partner. Additionally, Brown and Harris say ongoing difficulties would be …show more content…
According to Goffman’s idea of passing, it is a way to try and keep a potential stigma a secret and prevent people from finding out about it or to manage the effects of the stigma that a mental illness may carry. People will either manage, manipulate or present information to avoid revealing the stigma that may be associated with them and to appear ‘normal’. John manipulated the information he shared with his friends. He acknowledged to them that he lives in the hostel however he told them it is because he works there not because of his mental health. So in that way he let them know where he lived but manipulated it so that his mental illness was still kept hidden. He also manages this information because of his ‘quick wit’ and ‘outward appearance of calm’ so his friends do not have much information that would suggest something else in contradiction with the lie he told them. This works to his benefit because they do not suspect anything of his true identity or a lie behind what he told them. However, he did end up having a moment of anxiousness and dropped everything and left a store where one of his friends saw this. So, as Goffman said, trying to maintain this secrecy comes at a cost and there is always a chance of the lie being revealed, then they will have to face the

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