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A Utilitarian Perspective of Social and Medical Contributions to Three Illustrative Conditions, and Recent UK NHS Policy Initiatives

Middleton, Hugh; Shaw, Ian

Authors

Hugh Middleton hugh.middleton@nottingham.ac.uk

Ian Shaw ian.shaw@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

Background: To date debate concerning the relative merits of social and medical sciences has been
largely academic.
Aims: To outline and critically appraise a utilitarian approach to mental health research that reflects a
critical realist perspective.
Method: Consideration of the relative utility of differing approaches to illustrative ‘‘psychiatric’’
disorders, and recent policy initiatives.
Results: Socially relevant outcomes of Bipolar Affective Disorder are determined by influences that
operate independently of the characteristic instability of mood. There is now a highly specific and
effective psychological treatment for Panic Disorder. Its benefits are still not fully exploited because of
continuing lay and professional focus upon the condition’s social manifestations. Great numbers of
people presenting in primary care are unhelpfully caused to adopt the role of ‘‘patient’’ due to practices
limiting the professional response to a medical one. Such practices reflect public and professional
perceptions of the nature of ‘‘mental health difficulties’’ much more than they do the achievements of
medicine. Recent policy-supporting initiatives influencing UK NHS mental health services are much
more likely to be supported by social sciences than by medical research.
Conclusions: There is considerable scope for a contribution to applied mental health research from
frameworks and methodologies that are rooted in a social sciences perspective.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2007
Journal Journal of Mental Health
Print ISSN 0963-8237
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Institution Citation Middleton, H., & Shaw, I. (2007). A Utilitarian Perspective of Social and Medical Contributions to Three Illustrative Conditions, and Recent UK NHS Policy Initiatives. Journal of Mental Health, 16(3),
Keywords Social sciences, medical sciences, NHS mental health services
Publisher URL http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/09638237.asp
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf




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