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Sick Role

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Theorized in the 1950s by U.S. sociologist Talcott Parsons, the Sick Role places people in a role in society and social systems. There are different "roles" in society, each with their own expectations and responsibilities. After one is diagnosed by a physician, they enter the sick role. The sick role may be passive, which the health care provider being in control, but there may be a shared decision-making process that deviates from the traditional medical model.

Beliefs include:

  • The individual is not responsible for their illness, e.g., blame.
  • The inability to fulfill normal obligations is excusable, e.g., work.
  • The illness is undesirable and irregular.
  • The ill should want to seek professional help from medical experts.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cheshire, A., Ridge, D., Clark, L. V., & White, P. D. (2021). Sick of the Sick Role: Narratives of What “Recovery” Means to People With CFS/ME. Qualitative Health Research, 31(2), 298–308. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320969395