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Psychology – Discuss whether biomedical (or biogenetic) explanations of mental illness help or hinder efforts to reduce social stigma associated with these conditions.

Psychology – Discuss whether biomedical (or biogenetic) explanations of mental illness help or hinder efforts to reduce social stigma associated with these conditions.
Order Description
Word/Time limit: 2200 (+/- 10%)
The total word count does NOT include the title page or the reference list. Citations ARE included in the word count. You will need to make up your own mind as to the precise number of words you will allocate to each part of the essay. However, the introduction and conclusion should each be one paragraph.

Research Essay ( Research essays are not opinion pieces. There is little room for expressing personal preferences or opinions in a research essay. You should aim to weave a story around the research evidence at your disposal, critically evaluating, comparing and contrasting the various sources. However, it could be said that weighing up the evidence and coming to a conclusion is, to an extent, an expression of opinion. Critical evaluation should also not be an expression of opinion i.e. making a value judgement about an article without evidence does not add value. For example, simply saying ‘Article A is excellent’ is an expression of opinion that add no value to the argument. The following statement is much more useful: ‘Article A used a sophisticated sampling method that enhanced generalizability. This method is comprised . . .’)

Assessment overview

The assessment task requires you to write an essay that critically reviews the current research literature on the effect that biomedical (biogenetic) explanations of mental illness have on outcomes and their public perception. This assessment will refer to the four articles included in your Annotated bibliography, as well as any others you think would make a useful contribution to your essay.

Assessment details

This essay requires you to build upon your research skills from Assessment 1: Annotated bibliography (will be supplied)and write an essay on the topic below. You should incorporate the feedback you received from Assessment 1 into your essay, particularly the feedback on APA 6th style of referencing, the relevance and credibility of your references, and any feedback on the annotations associated with each reference (will be supplied)

You are expected to conform to the style and conventions presented in the Findlay (2015) textbook. For this assessment, the following pages are prescribed: Chapters 2 and 5; pp. 86-93. (will be supplied)

An abstract is not required for this assessment.

You are required to include a title page and reference list as per the formats presented in Findlay (will be supplied)

Assessment topic

Discuss whether biomedical (or biogenetic) explanations of mental illness help or hinder efforts to reduce social stigma associated with these conditions.

Background information

Many experts working in the area of mental illness believe that it is only a matter of time before we have comprehensive genetic and/or biological explanations for many common psychological disorders (see, for example, the American Psychiatric Association’s statement on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders). The central topic of the two assignments is whether the increased ‘medicalisation’ of mental illness, as proposed by the biogenetic explanations, has any impact on mental health outcomes and public attitudes towards people with mental illness. Reducing social stigma surrounding mental illness is a target of many public awareness campaigns (e.g., BeyondBlue, ‘Man therapy’). Are these public awareness campaigns helped by the increasing focus on biogenetic explanations for mental illness, or are these explanations actually counterproductive to reducing social stigma.

Page 548 of the Burton et al. (2015) textbook also provides important background information (will be supplied)

Structure for the essay


The introductory paragraph should broadly outline the topic that will be discussed, explain why it is an important issue, and provide some idea of what you will discuss and/or argue in the essay.


The body of the essay should define key concepts, as well as describe and evaluate the research literature that is relevant to the topic. Key concepts should include biomedical (biogenetic), psychosocial and stigma.

You will need to work the research literature into a story or narrative that helps you to present your perspective on the topic in a logical and coherent manner. Some questions to help guide you:

Has the public’s perception of mental illness changed over time? How? Why?
What is the biomedical (biogenetic) model and how does it differ from the psychosocial model?
How effective is the biomedical model in terms of diagnosis and treatment? Is the psychosocial model more effective?
What is the relationship between public perceptions of mental illness and social stigma of those with these illnesses?
What effect does increasing public awareness of the biogenetic causes of mental illnesses have on individuals’ understanding of their own mental illness?
What effect does increasing public awareness of the biogenetic causes of mental illness have on the public’s perception of these illnesses?


The concluding paragraph is an integrated summary of your major points and a final statement of your understanding of what the research literature has to say on this topic. You should not introduce new material in the conclusion and should avoid citations.

Reference list

The Reference list should include all of the research literature you have cited in your essay, listed in alphabetical order by first author’s surname, and presented in correct APA 6th style.

Assessment criteria

Organisation of material in body of essay.
Evaluation of material and development of argument in body of essay.
Reference list.
Language, grammar, proofing.

I will also supply two essays which received a HD mark in a previous study period. They are on a different topic and not perfect, however they give you an idea…

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