Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 286–296 | Cite as

Community mental health ideology presented in high school health textbooks: A content analysis

  • Patrick H. Tolan
  • John W. Lounsbury


The present study examined the community mental health ideology presented in high school health textbooks. A content analysis of texts in national use revealed that a hygiene model of mental health predominated. Further, substantial attention was devoted to drugs and alcohols as central issues for high school students, with particular emphasis on prevention through “consumer” education. Community mental health approaches were largely ignored, with brief mention made of the community mental health center as place where one can go to receive individual treatment. Mental illness was consistently presented as an individual's internal problem, unrelated to the social or ecological context of the individual. The findings were discussed in terms of implications for the exposure to mental health received by high school students and in terms of the need for public education about community mental health issues.


Mental Health High School Mental Illness Health Center Health Psychology 
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The following high school health text books were analyzed for the present study

  1. Belina, T. (Ed.)Values for health. Belmont, California: Fearon, 1976.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick H. Tolan
  • John W. Lounsbury
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxville

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