First Advisor

Melissa Thompson

Date of Award


Document Type





Mental illness -- Diagnosis -- Methodology




The diagnosis of mental illness has sometimes been a controversial issue due to concerns about reliability and validity of diagnosis. Current methods focus on the categorical assessment of presented symptoms, however, the assessment of the factors leading up to and correlated with mental illness could be a more helpful tool for identifying mental illness itself. The position of this paper is that an analysis of these factors and in particular the integration of the sociological perspective could lead to a better method of diagnosis and understanding of mental illness. A brief overview of the three primary models of mental illness is discussed first followed by an analysis of literature around the benefits and drawbacks to the dominant models and diagnosis of mental illness. Following this, a continued analysis of previous literature around alternatives to categorical assessment of mental illness is explored and discussed.


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An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in University Honors and Psychology and Sociology

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