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Symptom onset and the socially sanctioned pathway: the example of diet

[journal article]

Ogden, Jane

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Abstract Theories of symptom perception do not explain symptom onset, nor why symptoms vary according to culture and time. This article attempts to explain cultural, temporal and individual variation in symptoms, and presents a new three-stage model of symptom onset. First, it is argued that tensions relating to issues of conflict and control arise as an individual interfaces with their social world and that this requires communication. Second, it is suggested that symptoms are embedded with culturally specific meanings which offer up a socially sanctioned pathway as a forum for communication. Third, if this pathway is appraised as personally relevant, the symptoms offered by the pathway will be adopted as the forum for communication. The resulting symptoms are therefore both culturally and personally meaningful. This model is derived from an analysis of the literature on diet, but is also offered as a means to understand the onset of other common symptoms.
Classification Medical Sociology; Psychological Disorders, Mental Health Treatment and Prevention
Free Keywords culture bound syndromes; diet; symptoms
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 7-27
Journal Health, 11 (2007) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)