Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Martin Ross

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Walizer

Third Advisor

Mr. Robert Wait

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Chapter I


Social scientists have long been concerned with the relationships between mental disorder and various sociocultural factors, such as, social economic status, ethnic background, sex, age, and marital status. Until quite recently, the majority of studies that have investigated these relationships have defined cases of mental disorder solely in terms of whether or not an individual was in psychiatric treatment (see Faris and Dunham, 1939; Rose and Stub, 1955; Hollingshead and Redlich, 1958).

The utilization of psychiatric treatment as the only criterion of mental disorder, however, has been criticized by a number of researchers. Felix and Bowers (1948), Plunkett and Gordon (1960), and Mechanic (1970) have suggested that the availability of psychiatric treatment rates. Dohrenwend and Dohrenwend (1965; 52) have suggested that either of these factors could result in spurious interpretations being given to the observed relationships between various social factors (e.g., social economic status) and rates of mental disorder as based on the number of individuals in psychiatric treatment.

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Sociology Commons