Biological Psychiatry and Changing Ideas about 'Mental Health Prevention' in Australian Psychiatry: Risk and Individualism

By Henderson, Julie | Health Sociology Review, June 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Biological Psychiatry and Changing Ideas about 'Mental Health Prevention' in Australian Psychiatry: Risk and Individualism


Henderson, Julie, Health Sociology Review


Introduction

This paper explores the impact of the ascendency of biological psychiatry upon the construction of mental health prevention strategies in Australia. The central premise is that there has been a fundamental shift in the construction of mental health prevention associated with the mapping of psychopathology on the body rather than the social environment. From 1950 to 1985, mental health prevention strategies targeted the wellbeing of the whole population through a focus on the management of the social environment. After this period, there was a shift toward biological models of aetiology focussing on the individual. These changes in mental health aetiology are related to differing conceptions of the individual. Rose (2003:54) associates earlier, social models of aetiology, with 'psychological individualism', in which the 'source of our individuality and the locus of our discontents ... [is found in] biography and experience'. This view of the individual has been supplanted, for Rose, by a form of individualism in which the locus of individuality and discontent is found in the body and the brain. He calls this 'somatic individualism' (Rose 2003:54). This change provides the impetus for 'improving' mental well-being through acting on the body.

Changes within the dominant aetiological paradigm are traced in this paper through content analysis of relevant articles in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The data demonstrates a movement from social models of aetiology for mental illness, towards those that locate the root of psychopathology in biology. The paper then examines the notion of risk in these documents, illustrated through a case-study of changing ideas about the aetiology of schizophrenia. The discussion highlights two aspects of this change: an increasing focus upon biological causes of schizophrenia, and a movement towards a statistical, rather than causal, relationship between social and biological risk factors and schizophrenia. The paper concludes by identifying the manner in which the psychiatric textbooks and the journal depict mental health prevention. This discussion outlines typologies for understanding preventative services, highlighting the recent development of a typology based upon the degree of exposure to risk factors. Central to this discussion is a change from 'psychological' to 'somatic individualism', and a growing interest in identifying and managing those deemed to be 'at risk' (Rose 2003).

Public health and the mental hygiene movement

Armstrong (1983, 1995) describes the form of medicine which emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century as concerned with the hygiene of the population. This hygiene movement protected the political health of the nation by monitoring the personal lives and health maintenance behaviours of citizens and inculcating habits to promote social and physical well-being (Rose 1986, 1996b).

This form of medicine reflected wider concerns with the well-being of the population and is informed by a rationality that enshrines liberal welfare by protecting the population from the excesses of the market through the provision of health and welfare services. For Dean (1999:150), the purposes of government at this time 'were conceived as enframing society within mechanisms of security by which the state would care for the welfare of the population "from the cradle to the grave'". The state intervened in the market and the lives of its citizens, taking direct responsibility for 'social-ising' the individual in the interests of collective security (Rose 1996a:48). Professions, such as social work and psychology, emerged at this time and took a role in ensuring the adoption of the responsibilities of citizenship. Where people fell short of social expectations, the professions taught and enforced appropriate social norms. People were 'governed through society, that is to say, through acting on them in relation to a social norm, and constituting their experiences and evaluations in a social form' (Rose 1993:285; italics in original). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Biological Psychiatry and Changing Ideas about 'Mental Health Prevention' in Australian Psychiatry: Risk and Individualism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit OpenDyslexic.org.

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.