An Extended Model of Vulnerability

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 6B P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Kjeld HOGSBRO, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Pia RINGOE, Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Denmark
Soeren JUUL, Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work., Denmark
Since 1990 the vulnerability model for understanding mental illness as influenced by both biological, psychological and sociological factors has been widely accepted within research focusing on the etiology of mental diseases. Yet, the exact influence of the three different factors has been purely defined and subject to basic disagreement. This paper tries to bring the discussion further by presenting an extension of the vulnerability model and a theoretical discussion on current results within neurology, psychiatry and sociology that might support a much more exact definition of the influence of different factors on mental diseases.

Basically, our extension of the vulnerability model distinguishes between two levels of vulnerability. The first level emprises the etiology of an impairment, we actually do not identify in any of the diagnostic systems. The second level comprises the interaction between the life-world of people with such impairment and the institutional systems of society as well as the conditions in the everyday life of people. This is the level where the social problems of these people can be identified and these social problems are the main indicators in the diagnostic systems.

On both levels neurological, psychological and sociological factors can be defined. Current research on neurological variations with respect to communicative abilities and the influence on the brain of stressors as well as a known diversity in normal psychological development can be related to current and classical sociological theories on stigma, symbolic interaction, discourses and communication. The paper will outline some of these cross disciplinary considerations, its emerging trends and possible solutions.