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Thesis (M.S.)

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Disease, Health attitudes


The relationship between goodness and happiness, between wickedness and punishment is so strong, that given one of these conditions, the other is frequently assumed. Misfortune, sickness, and accident are often taken as signs of badness and guilt. If (a person) is unfortunate, then he has committed a sin. Heider (1958, p. 235) Illness is a universal phenomenon, and every society develops ways of defining and coping with illness. It is a fact of life with which everyone must live, although the effects of disease and reactions to illness may vary widely across individuals and cultures. Individuals and groups vary in their susceptibility to certain diseases, in their beliefs and attitudes toward illness, and in the ways in which they explain and adapt to illness. These variations in the distribution, definition, and reaction to illness have led to the recognition of illness as a psychosocial as well as biological phenomenon, and have increasingly become the objects of social and psychological inquiry.