Sociological and psychological theories of self-neglect
Version of Record online: 11 OCT 2002
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 331–338, November 2002
How to Cite
Lauder, W., Anderson, I. and Barclay, A. (2002), Sociological and psychological theories of self-neglect. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 40: 331–338. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02374.x
- Issue online: 11 OCT 2002
- Version of Record online: 11 OCT 2002
- Submitted for publication 12 March 2002 Accepted for publication 10 July 2002
- social constructionism;
Background. Self-neglect can be defined as the failure to engage in those self-care actions necessary to maintain a socially acceptable standard of personal and household hygiene and/or a failure to adequately care for one's own health. It is generally acknowledged that research and practice in the area of self-neglect has been hampered by a lack of theoretical development. Socio-psychological theories, such as ‘social constructivism’ and ‘negotiated interactionism’ can contribute to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon and to the further development of self-neglect theory.
Aims. This paper seeks to apply social and psychological theories to understanding self-neglect. Self-neglect is an underconceptualized phenomenon, which requires to be studied within a broader theoretical context than is at present the case.
Implications. Sociological and psychological theories offer radically different ways of looking at self-neglect, as opposed to the medical model, as they seek to explain and understand, rather than simply classify it as a medical disorder caused by some form of underlying psychopathology. These theories emphasize the dynamic and interpretative nature of self-neglect and illustrate the arbitrary way in which this label is applied.