Journal Article

Medicalization of Social Workers in Mental Health Services in Hong Kong

Kam-shing Yip

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 3, pages 413-435
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Medicalization of Social Workers in Mental Health Services in Hong Kong

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Medical dominance is a crucial problem in social work practice in mental health services. This paper is an examination of the response of social workers to medical dominance in mental health services in Hong Kong. To explore the process and the effects of medicalization of social workers, sixty-three social workers in various areas of mental health service settings were interviewed. Their reaction and daily performance in facing medical dominance were analysed and evaluated. The findings show that facing medical dominance was a common occurrence for social workers in various mental health services in Hong Kong. Conflict existed between the rationalization of medical knowledge by medical professionals, and social work rationalization of social work knowledge by social workers. The process of medicalization consisted of five stages: ignorance of medical dominance, confronting medical dominance, compromise with medical dominance, acceptance of medical dominance and internalization of medical dominance. The findings also show that medicalization was influenced by the organizational and team context.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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