Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Joseph A. Marolla


Mental illness is examined as a classification of deviance and as a social process. The labeling perspective provides preliminary concepts and problems for research. The goal of research is the examination of the process of ascribing the label "mental illness" to individuals and their behavior by significant others prior to their contact with official and organizational agents of treatment and control.

An exploratory interview research design thin the Fan district of Richmond, Virginia was executed. Fifty residents were interviewed. Preliminary data suggest that the primarily white, female, well-educated, professional sample was unwilling to stereotype the mentally ill, and revealed typifications of mental illness which differed significantly from those in previous research. Mental illness was ascribed primarily to individuals who were known well and who were observed as acting abnormally for their personal biographical situation and unable to function over a continued period of time.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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