Mental illness, addiction, stigma and heterosexual gender norms

Shimmin, Carolyn (2012) Mental illness, addiction, stigma and heterosexual gender norms. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The stigmatization of individuals diagnosed with a mental illness and/or addiction and who are labelled as mentally ill and/or addicts has long been seen as a barrier to treatment and recovery. Anti-stigma campaigns in Canada date back to the 1950s, and yet, recent data demonstrates that stigmatizing behaviours and attitudes in the Canadian public towards individuals diagnosed with a mental illness and/or addiction and labelled as mentally ill and/or as addicts remains pervasive. Yet public health resources continue to be spent on anti-stigma initiatives that use the same normalization approaches that have yet to be shown to have long-lasting impacts on the stigmatizing behaviours and attitudes exhibited by the Canadian public. In this thesis, I argue that there are very strong associations between the stigma against individuals who are diagnosed with a mental illness and/or addiction and the constituting, policing and restraining of heterosexual gender norms. I investigate: firstly how the stigmatization of individuals who are diagnosed with a mental illness and/or addiction is constituted by the loss of power that occurs with the denial of the diversity and fluidity of gender and the subsequent policing of rigid dualistic gender categories and constructs; secondly I look at how this type of stigma in turn doubles the effects of this powerlessness, and doubles the aggression towards individuals diagnosed with a mental illness and/or addiction; and finally, I consider how this might inform strategies to combat the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction, and what some alternatives to combating such stigma might be, with the hopes of meaningful recovery.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6178
Item ID: 6178
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 162-176).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mentally ill--Public opinion; Addicts--Public opinion; Heterosexuals--Public opinion; Stigma (Social psychology)

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