Classical Labeling Theory

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The classical labeling theory, first introduced by Frank Tannenbaum in 1938, focuses on rejection, stereotyping, and stigma as factors leading to the demoralization and social exclusion of individuals (Gyllensten, 2011). We believe that individuals with a mental illness experience this demoralization and social exclusion. Through providing education we attempt to alter stigmas that are potentially present. As assumed by this theory, this will lead to an increased social acceptance. Restrictive, stereotypical attitudes towards mental illness can be a barrier in health-seeking behavior for those who have a mental illness (Hugo, Boshoff, Traut, Zungu-Dirwayi, & Stein, 2003). The education provided in efforts to alter stigmas present, is founded …show more content…
From our research, we hope to identify whether mental illness stigma can be changed by providing factual information about physical changes occurring in the brain with mental illnesses. If we can change the stigma around mental illness, we hope to increase health-seeking behavior. We define health-seeking behavior as the initiation of pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological treatment of mental illness. Some examples of treatment include talking to a religious figure, exercising, using meditation or relaxation techniques, taking prescribed medications, and seeking counseling from a therapist. As a group, we define stigma as the undue projection of negative ideas onto others. The term stigma has been described as involving a lack of knowledge, negative attitudes, and avoidance of a certain group of people. (Markström et al., 2009) This research is designed to observe stigma created around mental illness. In this paper, mental illness is used to refer to a psychological medical condition. Mental illness has been defined as “a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome experienced by a person and marked by distress, disability, or the risk of suffering, disability, or loss of freedom” (Mohr, 2013, p. 892). The educational piece presented as the intervention contains biomedical information related to mental illnesses. To understand the basis of our educational piece, the term biomedical must be defined. Biomedical refers to the “application of natural sciences to the study of medicine” (Venes, 2009, p.

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