Sociocultural Factors

Research and theory suggest that abnormal illness behaviors may pass from generation to generation through early social learning within the familial context. Disproportionate parental concern over a child's physical symptoms, the misattribution of normal sensations to pathological causes, and inappropriate help-seeking behavior have all been linked to subsequent bodily preoccupation, which may serve as a risk factor for the development of somatoform illness. Moreover, some studies have shown that children exposed to abnormally high amounts of family illness are more likely to experience somatoform illness as adults. Early exposure to pathology may reinforce illness behavior and provide a model for the subsequent development of symptoms. In addition, repeated exposure to illness provides misleading information concerning illness base rates, leading those that are exposed to overestimate the likelihood of certain forms of pathology.

The dynamic relationship between illness behavior and culture in general may also play an important role in the development of somatization. In most cultures, there is a stigma attached to mental illness that is not associated with physical forms of infirmity; as such, expressing emotional distress somatically offers a socially acceptable way of gaining support via the sick role. Cultural factors pertaining to the health care system are also likely to be influential in shaping the nature and occurrence of somatization. Some studies, for example, have implicated iatrogenic factors in the maintenance of many medically unexplained symptoms, often involving physical misdiagnoses that could serve to perpetuate symptoms by legitimizing the individual's somatic interpretation of their condition. Moreover, the biological emphasis of modern health care systems encourages individuals to communicate nonspecific distress somatically rather than psychologically.

Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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