Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Trait intercorrelations, Social perception, Female juvenile delinquents



Physical Description

1 online resource (143 p.)


While men do indeed construct self-validating and often peculiar interpretations of the realities of their world the simple fact that these views become consensually shared doctrines of experience does not protect them from the revisionism of historical scrutiny. These perceptions of the world become retrospectively altered as developing bodies of knowledge reject them as being clearly deceptive or anachronistic. The concept of psychopathology, distinguished historically under many rubrics, has not been immune to these same processes of modification, nor has it ever been free of the diverse irrationalities which men of all ages have constructed to explain the etiology and treatment of deviant behavior. Historically, consideration of atypical behavior all reflect attempts to explain dysfunction utilizing existing systems of belief and knowledge. For example, primitive and ancient societies advanced quasi-theoretical frameworks that stressed either external causation (e.g., spirit intervention, sorcery, demonic possession, lunacy, bewitchment) or personal causation (e.g., loss of soul, breach of taboo, object intrusion, brain disease).

Of course, retrospective evaluation of these explanatory devices have found them to be woefully impoverished. With the advent of science these archaic beliefs were found to be incompatible with a rational view of the world where all events had logical and determinable causes. Moreover, with the development of the medical model of disease, aberrant behavior, of a functional nature, could be explained and treated in the same systematic manner as that which had an organic basis. While the "new view" still distinguished between external and internal causation of psychopathology, it radically redefined explanatory concepts and apparently located dynamics of the disease process within the individual. The classic psychiatric/psychological approach has (and continues to) stressed the description and classification of pathological signs and symptoms and when etiology was considered, illness was accounted for more often than not by such intra-psychic factors as anxiety, stress, breakdown of defense mechanisms and ego strength.

Current theories of psychopathology have not been quite as oblivious to the effects of the individual's environment in the production and maintenance of both functional and organic illness. Nor can they be, for the last two decades have witnessed a growing awareness of the purely sociological aspects of pathological processes--processes which had hitherto been assigned only to individual defects. Research in the social epidemology of mental illness has established the importance of numerous sociological variables including ecological and socioeconomic status factors,personal and social characteristics, and culture-specificfactors. It is now commonly recognized that the environment of the individual plays a crucial role in determining the characteristics and course of pathological processes.


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