ABSTRACT

As I alluded to a number of times, increasingly more forms of deviant behavior are being regarded as medical problems and are entering into the jurisdiction of the medical system. This chapter presents a first statement towards a theory of the medicalization of deviant behavior. While this statement emerges from a study of hyperkinesis, I present it as a model for the conditions for the medicalization of any form of deviance. This theory is not a complete theory of medicalization as it outlines only the conditions necessary for medicalization rather than explicates the process by which deviance is medicalized. While any theory of medicalization must specify the conditions under winch it should occur, a more developed theory would also describe the process by which deviance becomes medicalized. Such a theory would more fully explain the interrelationships between the various conditions, something which I only touch on here. At this point I have been at least partially able to explain this process for hyperactivity (cf. Chapters 2, 5, and 6); further research is necessary to discern how similar or different the processes are for other forms of deviant behavior. A major purpose of this chapter is to stimulate such research. The theory is presented in the form of seven conditions contributing to the medicalization of deviant behavior.