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Medicalization as a Moral Problem for Preventive Medicine

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Abstract:

Preventive medicine is sometimes criticised as it contributes to medicalization of normal life. The concept ‘medicalization’ has been introduced by Zola to refer to processes in which the labels ‘healthy’ and ‘ill’ are made relevant for more and more aspects of human life. If preventive medicine contributes to medicalization, would that be morally problematic? My thesis is that such a contribution is indeed morally problematic. The concept is sometimes used to express moral intuitions regarding the practice of prevention and health promotion. Through analysis of these intuitions as well as some other moral concerns, I give an explication of the moral problems of medicalization within the context of preventive medicine.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8519.00135

Affiliations: Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Nijmegen

Publication date: 1999-04-01

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