In the book sociology of health, illness, and health in Canada, Strohschein and Weitz
introduce us to the social and medical model approaches to disability. According to these
authors, health sociology is so essential because it clarifies the crucial role that social factors play
in impacting the well-being of individuals, groups, and society as a whole. For instance, the
development of "medicine" from a small-scale business in the 1800s to a vast complicated of
norms of behavior, societal norms, practitioner practices, financial interests, and structured
services, all of which have an impact on both societal health and the quality of healthcare, is a
remarkable aspect of contemporary Canadian society (Godley, 2018). This paper examines the
medical and social approaches to disability and the debates and special interests that specifically
underlie the three approaches.
The special interests that underlie the three approaches to disability
Reasearches have shown that people's thoughts toward disabilities are subjective by their
thoughts. Even though everyone has a unique perspective on disability, these viewpoints can be
divided into three broad categories: moral, medical, and social models of disability (Weiss &
Copelton, 2020). Each model discusses about the supposed causes of impairment, appropriate
remedies, and inner implications.
The moral model
According to the moral model, a person's disability has implications for their character,
actions, ideas, and destiny. According to this viewpoint, impairment can be associated with
stigma, humiliation, and guilt, especially if it is thought of as a sign of misbehavior. Disability
can sometimes be viewed as a badge of fortitude, faith, or dignity. For instance, a religious
person can think that God's faith in them led to God choosing them or a member of their family
to have a disability. A disability may sometimes be viewed as a triumphant memory of
overcoming adversity, e.g., a polio epidemic or stepping on a land mine (Weiss & Copelton,
2020). The moral model is widely accepted and frequently portrayed in the media. For instance,
some films portray wickedness by using a physical impairment. In contrast, some films show
people with disabilities who go above and beyond what is expected of them to accomplish
extraordinary things, like a person in a wheelchair who scales Yosemite's El Capitan.
The medical model
According to the medical model, a disability is a pathological impairment of a body
system or function. According to this viewpoint, the objective is to bring the structure or
performance as close to "normal" as is practical. According to the medical concept, experts in
disabilities are those with specific training. People with disabilities are obliged to heed their
recommendations. According to Weiss & Copelton, (2020), clinical and medical terms are used
in the medical model's language (e.g., left hemiplegia; partial lesion at the T4 level (Godley,
2018). This point of view is occasionally evident in the educational, health, and mental health
sectors. The medical model of disability is frequently portrayed in films through a plot in which
a disabled person is miserable and sad but chooses to appreciate life through a relationship with a
non-disabled person (Mykhalovskiy et al., 2019). The belief that disabled people teach people
with physical abilities how to be good individuals is a reversal of this.
The social model
The social model views a person's disability as a component of their identity, much like
their color, ethnicity, gender, and so on. According to this concept, a person's impairment results
from an inappropriate environment (both physical and social). Not the impairment, but this
environment is what generates the limitations and hurdles. According to this viewpoint, rather
than focusing on those who have disabilities, the best method to treat disability is to alter the
environment and society (Weiss & Copelton, 2020). Ecological alteration and complete
contribution are disadvantaged by destructive stereotypes, prejudice, and injustice. Multiply
disabled individuals who bond, learn, and mature independently of a non-disabled person are
more common in films that portray disability using a social model (Mykhalovskiy et al., 2019).
Other movies portray disabled people more realistically, whether it be in the context of devoted
families that are not "burdened" by the condition, in a society where discrimination is prevalent,
or as activists fighting to change the legislation.
A sociological critique of disability
Numerous published views from inside and outside the medical profession have
questioned how medicine has treated mental disease and disability over the past six decades.
These criticisms frequently refer to the "medical model," a phrase with various connotations but
that is nearly at all times used unconstructively. Disability scholars and self-advocates have been
prominent rivals of the "medical model," attacking it and promoting an unusual "social model"
that analyses disabilities as the outcome of a repressive and intolerant culture rather than an
interpersonal or medical issue (Mykhalovskiy et al., 2019). The "social model" and "medical
model" have commonly been applied to contrast opposing standpoint on disability, but
underlying historical development and changing definitions have got little attention (Weiss &
Copelton, 2020). Because of the lack of knowledge available to doctors regarding what these
notions imply to patients, it has been challenging to address their concerns appropriately
(Mykhalovskiy et al., 2019). Fully accepting social-model beliefs would include political
involvement on the part of doctors and a better importance on societal issues as opposed to
individual ones. Even if most health professionals do not get on some of these roles, a better
understanding of disability viewpoints and imminence with critiques of the medical model may
allow them to find new ways to develop patient care while also improving support and
opportunities for clinical apprentices and coworkers with disabilities.
Since its inception by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz in the middle of the 1950s, the
assessment of the medical model has been expressed in a variety of ways in the history of
psychiatry. One interpretation, known as the antireductionist perspective, criticized medicine's
propensity to attribute disease and incapacity to physiochemical causes. Health professionals
were big fans of this kind of criticism, which called for changing medical practice to make
doctors more aware of the nuanced psychological components of health and illness. Although
antireductionist reforms do not call into question the fundamental significance of medicine in
taking care of people with mental issues and disabilities, most doctors have found them to be
more pleasant than calls for exclusion (Mykhalovskiy et al., 2019). Psychologist George Engel
was a notable advocate of an antireductionist viewpoint in the 1970s. He attacked the medical
model, urging an alternative "biopsychosocial model" in place of reductionist natural scientific
methods. Engel argued that mental illness constituted a sickness and that its biological causes
should not be discounted, setting his perspective apart from Szasz and other "exclusionists"
(Godley, 2018). At the same time, Engel argued that medicine needed a more complex
understanding of the disease, considering both psychosocial problems and physiochemistry.
Conclusively, disgrace and restored faith are possible results of the moral model.
Although the medical model is authoritarian, it has greatly advanced rehabilitation. The social
model fosters community, yet institutional ableism can be oppressive. Most people probably hold
opinions about multiple models. But it is difficult to say because there isn't yet a recognized way
to measure the models. More information about disabled people's perspectives on the expenses
and advantages of their specific disability model is required.
Godley, J. (2018). Everyday discrimination in Canada. The Canadian Journal of
Sociology/Cahiers Canadiens de Sociologie, 43(2), 111-142.
Mykhalovskiy, E., Frohlich, K. L., Poland, B., Di Ruggiero, E., Rock, M. J., & Comer, L.
(2019). Critical social science with public health: Agonism, critique and
engagement. Critical Public Health, 29(5), 522-533.
Weiss, G. L., & Copelton, D. A. (2020). The sociology of health, healing, and illness. Routledge.