SO327 Sociology Mental Health Illness

for F1T 2012

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SO 327 Sociology Mental Health Illness


F1T 2012 DL


Palma, Esther Z.


Adjunct Faculty



Office Location

Park Main Campus

Office Hours

email/voice mail anytime (may be arranged before or after class as well)

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

Monday, August 20, 2012 to Sunday, October 14, 2012

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


Gallagher, SOCIOLOGY OF MENTAL ILLNESS 5/ENew Jersey: Prentice Hall


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Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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Course Description:
SO 327 Sociology of Mental Health and Illness: Cross-cultural social history and analysis of mental health professional and psychiatric diagnoses, and an analysis of the politics and social control related to the labeling of mental illnesses. Topics include institutional and informal care-giving, effects of mental illness on family and friends, homelessness, and substance abuse, effects of current mental health policies and trends, medicalization of deviance, and a social epidemiology of mental illness.

Educational Philosophy:
The facilitator's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, dialogues, examinations, videos, websites, writing, and examinations.  The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputations learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.  The facilitator will ensure a safe environment for the exploration of topics.

Class Assessment:

All learning activities will be assessed according to standards of quality:

A. Participation: Due every week. Your main post is due on Thursday and your peer and instructor posts are due by Saturday.   Participation is demonstrated through discussion. Grading participation will be based on clarity and completeness of thought, ideas supported by facts, logical arguments or research. Comments should be substantial and relevant to the topic, and contribute to further thought or reflection. The instructor will provide responses individually or to the class as a whole within 48 hours of posting. Participation will be facilitated by posting questions that cover the readings and lecture. You must mention your readings in all of your main posts and cite the work.  Three postings are expected every week, and the postings must include (1) Responding to a posted question; (2) a peer review (responding to another student’s answer to a question). (3) Responding to the instructor’s comments or additional questions. There will be two questions to choose from each week.  Choose one for your main post  and then post to a peer in the other one. For additional information on online participation and netiquette, please visit:

B. E-Journal: Two postings are expected every week. The postings must include: (1) a weekly "e-journal" entry in which you identify instances where you have observed or experienced some manner of mental health. This can include anything that is in the news or you read or saw this week that pertains to mental health. Describe the event/reading and note your personal thoughts and/or reactions. The second (2) entry must be a responds to a peer’s "e-journal" entry. Your main post is due on Thursday and your peer post is due by Saturday.   

C. Reading/Lecture.  Due every week.  Materials for quizzes and the final exam will come from discussion, readings, and lecture.

D. Individual projects  Due each week for 7 weeks.  You will then be able to use all of those projects to complete your final core assessment paper by using parts or pieces of these papers to complete the core assessment. This is purely a choice and not necessarily a requirement but it could be helpful.  I do not mind if you use parts of past papers to complete the final paper. 

These written projects are designed to reinforce the core learning outcomes, and they will be graded based on writing style, comprehension and knowledge as well as evaluation.  All papers must be written in APA style and must be 2 to three pages in length.   Title pages and reference pages are required as well as citations.  At least one outside academic source will be needed per paper.  Each assignment is due weekly by Sunday at midnight.

E. Final Exam. Due at the end of the course.  The exam will be a comprehensive, proctored exam.  It will consist of essay questions.  It will be closed book, no notes and you will be allowed 2 hours.  There are review questions posted on the site.

F.  Core Assessment

Here are the key things to keep in mind regarding your Core Assessment Assignment:

  • The Core Assessment assignment for this class will be a major essay that integrates, analyzes, applies, and critiques several sociological concepts and research findings from this course.  You may use your textbooks for this assignment
  • You must incorporate the findings from at least five (5) outside academic sources of original academic research in this essay.   Wikipedia is not an academic source.  If you have questions, please ask me.  
  • You should also consider incorporating relevant and reputable statistical and other social scientific data collected by researchers, governments, and other agencies and organizations. A wealth of such archived data is publicly accessible through the Internet, and their use can help you better understand your issue and develop a stronger analysis and critique. Again, if in doubt, ask your instructor for approval of your data source.
  • If you do not properly cite those external sources that contributed to your work, then you are guilty of plagiarism. This will not be tolerated and may result in immediate and serious academic penalties. You are required to use the APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines for ALL formatting, citations, and references. For information on the APA style, format, style, and references: University of Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • The main text of your essay (the body) will be no shorter than 10 pages but no longer than 15. Begin work on your essay early and leave plenty of time for revision to assure the best possible grade. Also, your paper MUST BE DOUBLE-SPACED! 
  • Include thoughtful, meaningful examples to support your work and demonstrate your understanding.  This also shows me that you can apply the concept you are learning.  
  • MAKE SURE you format your paper so it is easy to read. There are three (3) "sections" to the assignment, so break you work into readable "chunks" based upon the "sections" identified below.   This entails using subheadings.  Those are to be centered.  You may add other subheadings as well. 


**This will be a fictional work that you will create to cover the required areas.

Section I Overview of Fictional Character and Symptoms

In this section, I would like you to give us a description of your fictional character and the signs and symptoms of mental illness.  Make sure and mention when those became significant enough that treatment was sought. You decided what illness you would assign this fictional character.   From there, I would like you to expand and discuss areas such as social class, gender, ethnicity, race, and educational level, etc.  This could be about both the past and present.  What affect did these things have on the person?  How have these areas affected the possibility of becoming institutionalized and mental illness?

Section II – Treatment

In this section, you should describe how you see treatment occurring for the patient.  This would include any diagnosis, counseling, prescriptions or any other type of treatment that you can find information about. 

Section III-Institutionalization

In this section, your character will back slide and require institutionalization.  Describe the process and the possible reasons why.  I would also like you to cover some history in this area.  I would like you to compare and contrast the treatment that the person would receive now vs. 100 years ago.  

Section IV-Final Analysis/Aftercare

In this section, you should write your thoughts on what the future holds for your fictional character.  What have you based your opinions on?  What could cause a change in these results? You will also want to cover what you have learned about the process from the beginning of the first signs of mental health issues to the aftercare process. 

Due on the final week on Sunday at midnight.







Course Grading Criteria The final course grade will be based on participation, e-journals, weekly core learning outcome projects, the core assessment, and the final exam as follows:

Participation (8 x 10)

80 points

Core learning Outcomes projects (7 x 10 )

70 points

E-Journals (8 x 5)

40 points

Final Exam

110 points

Core Assessment Paper

200 points

Total Points

500 points

 Grading Scale:  

90% and higher

450 points and higher



400 - 449 points



350 - 399 points



300 - 349 points


59% and lower

299 points and lower


Late Submission of Course Materials:
The instructor will not accept late assignments.  Assignments not submitted on the due date will receive a grade of "zero."  There are few exceptions to this policy.  Extreme circumstances may be discussed with the instructor to make other assignment arrangements.  It is the STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY to contact the instructor in advance to discuss the situation and seek approval in a timely fashion.  If the instructor agrees to the submission of late work, 10 points will be deducted per day that the assignment is late.  Arrangements for work to be turned in on time if a student will not be present for class must be made by the student. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
This  class is one that the subject matter can be very sensitive at times.  It is important that students respect the opinions of others.  I do not anticipate any problems with regard to rudeness in our class.  I do want everyone to know that the classroom is a safe place to discuss varying opinions.  It is only through safe expression of thoughts and ideas that learning occurs.  This is a university class and everyone deserves our respect and understanding when they share their opinions and comments. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
***Make sure that you read AND print the Course Schedule document, available on the Course Home Menu.

Course Schedule

Week I
(Gallagher, Chapters 1 & 2). This week’s readings and discussion will cover the concept, history, and theories of mental illness. The main topics are:

  • Mental illness and society
  • Historical evolution of the notion of mental illness
  • Theories of mental illness
  • Mental illness and law
  • Terminological issues
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Mental Illness as myth
  • Psychiatric nomenclature

Week II (Gallagher, Chapter 3). Continuation of the discussion of the impact of culture on the understanding of mental illness, reliability of psychiatric diagnosis, and major theoretical perspectives. Topics include:

  • Culture bound syndromes and their implications
  • World patters
  • Alternative definitions of mental health
  • Psychiatric nomenclature and their reliability
  • Social stress theory
  • Family systems theory
  • Labeling theory
  • Social learning theory
  • Psychoanalytic theory

Week III (Gallagher, Chapters 4 & 5). Major topics for this week:

  • Schizophrenic disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
    • Panic disorders
    • Phobic disorders
    • Generalized anxiety disorders
    • Obsessive-Compulsive disorders
    • Post-traumatic stress disorders

Week IV (Gallagher, Chapter 6) Major topics for this week:

  • Types of personality Disorders
    • Paranoid personality
    • Schizoid and schizotypal personalities
    • Histrionic personality
    • Narcissistic personality
    • Ant-social personality
    • Violence and personality disorder
    • Other types of personality disorders

Week V (Gallagher, Chapter 7, 8, & 9). Major topics for this week:

  • Epidemiology of mental illness
  • Social class and mental illness
  • Mental illness in relation to gender, marital Status, family relationships, and birth order
  • Mental illness and social mobility

Week VI (Gallagher, Chapters 10 & 11). Major topics for this week: 

  • Mental illness in relation to religion, ethnicity, race
  • Mental illness in relation to migration, place of residence and age

Week VII (Gallagher, Chapter 12). Major topics for this week:

  • Becoming a mental patient
  • Onset of mental illness and family dynamics
  • Onset of mental illness and community response
  • The process of committing the mentally ill

Week VIII (Gallagher Chapters 13 & 14). Major topics for this week:

  • The mental health system
  • In patient treatment modalities
  • Institutionalization
  • Community mental health services
  • Mental patient in the community
  • The stigma of mental illness
  • Mental illness and homelessness
  • Mental illness and substance abuse
  • Review and prospects 

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

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Last Updated:7/30/2012 8:29:10 PM