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Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Brittany Rubbico
Title "Sanctioned Deviance:" A Critical Approach to the Sick Role and Its Socioeconomic Influences
Department Sociology
Advisors David Nibert and Keith Doubt
Year 2012
Honors Departmental Honors
Full Text View Thesis (181 KB)
Abstract Illness is present in all aspects of society; the sick role creates certain allowances for individuals and relief from every day, social activity. The study will identify Talcott Parsons' sociological concept of the sick role and test its legitimacy within the current health care plan, one in which subjects' access to health insurance is not always present. This study relates both ends of the economic spectrum, adding a timely discussion to monetary influence and its shaping of the sick role as a functional concept. Conclusions will be drawn from the results of the hypothesis being tested, identifying whether possession of health insurance will have an effect on an individual's ability to occupy the sick role. The null hypothesis states that occupation of the sick role is not contingent upon possession of health insurance. The study will utilize the General Social Survey (GSS) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and their associated questions in conjunction with the study's variables. Answers to the questions will provide data for analysis, accounting for the effects of health insurance and socioeconomic position on the sick role. The study will question the viability of Parsons' notion of the sick role, addressing its relevance in a capitalistic society, one in which health insurance has morphed into a luxury. The projected conclusions hope to discover a relationship between socioeconomic status and possession of health insurance on the occupation of Parsons' sick role. The study is opportune in the current sociology of medicine.

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