The functionalist view of the sick role is analyzed in terms of its applicability to women. Rather than focusing on the so-called secondary gains of the sick role, attention is given to the primary losses incurred when women's problems are subject to medical definitions and interventions. Women's “sickness” is placed in a historical and sociopolitical context. The “sickness” of the nursing profession and the “sickness” of women are seen as sharing similar symptoms, the same etiology, and hence a common cure.
© 1985 Aspen Publishers, Inc.