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Who classifies as “youth?”

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Who classifies as “youth?”

  • Specific time in life

  • Based on social status rather than age (has not achieved full economic and social independence)

  • Socially constructed

  • By law

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Youth & deviant

  • Perceived to have lifestyles centered around ‘deviance’

  • Large part of the transition from childhood to adulthood is through deviance (crossing the boundaries)

  • Deviant collectively rather than individually.

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Troubling youth (as a risk)

primarily a threat to others and to society

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Troubled youth (at risk)

  • primarily a threat to themselves

    • At any moment, they may become troubling youth (a threat to others if we don’t address their issue) => school shooter

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Three dominant ways to count crime or describe crime patterns and trends

  • Official (police-reported) statistics

    • CCJS, UCR, etc.

    • Uniform way

  • Victimization surveys

    • Most crimes are not reported because they don’t report that to the police

      • Afraid of victimization

  • Self-report studies

    • Ask ppl if they have committed crime recently

    • Anonymous

      • Thus ppl will be more likely to report

    • If we missed crime in official statistics or victimization surveys

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Why victimization studies cannot report everything?

  • The person may not know they are victimized

  • Victimless crime (drug use)

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Problems with Crime Rates?

  • Often deployed with a limited understanding of sociological, demographical, criminological, and legal processes  => significantly affect crime rates

  • We need to read changes on crime stats in a cautious and critical way

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How to (critically) read changes in crime rates…

  • Change in incidence


  • Change in definition?

    • Definition in law

  • Change in classification?

    • Classification of certain crimes

    • If we classify some crimes as less serious => that crime may increase

  • Change in tolerance?

  • Change in reporting/charging practices?

    • Hate crimes, sexual assault

  • Change in legal priorities?

  • Change in exposure?

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Youth Crime statistics in Canada

  • Since 1992 => steady downward trend in youth crime

  • Overrepresentation of youth (12-17)

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What should be more focus on in Youth crime Canada?

Should dedicate greater concern to youth and child victimization

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Youth at risk (troubled)

  • Youth who are victimized by cyberbullyi__ng__ => be pushed toward other troublesome behaviors (substance use)

    • Bullying is a form of strain that lead to negative emotion

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Substance usage trend in youth

  • Substance use among youth peaked in the 1970s => steadily declined

  • Peaked again in the early 1990s => declined once again

  • Most significant decline => due to tobacco use

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3 most commonly used substances

  • alcohol

  • e-cigarettes

  • cannabis

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Tobacco Use

  • Today few Canadian youth are smokers => stark contrast to the late 1970s

  • Youth smoking is socially controlled

  • Smoking in movies has greater impact on youth smoking than tobacco advertising

    • Hollywood and the tobacco industry => long-established relationship

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Tobacco industry

  • Faced retroactive measures of social control

  • Have to show all of their documents

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e-Cigarette Use

  • Decline in youth smoking => due to rapid increase in the use of e-cigarettes

  • Different motivations for vaping

    • cloud chasers

    • substitutes

  • Governments have been criticized for their slow implementation of vaping legislation

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cloud chasers

  • smoke as a hobby

  • learn tricks they can perform

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smokers or former smokers who started vaping to reduce the stigmatization they faced as smokers

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Drug Use

  • Common conversation => “drug” is often used to refer to those substances that are illegal

    • alcohol and nicotine are both drugs

  • Most common drug = marijuana

  • If you hang out with individuals who use drugs => you’re more likely to use drugs

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What is the greatest cocern of “troubled youth”?

Drug usage

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Reasons for drug usage

  • Relieve stress

  • Form of escape

  • Social activity

=> common reasons for most of the population

  • Satisfying curiosity

  • Showing independence

  • Becoming part of a specific peer group

=> unique for youth, oftentimes don’t appear in adults

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How others’ usage of drugs can affect you

  • Individual

    • Genetic & environment

    • Gang involvement

  • Community

    • Norms

    • Economic conditions

  • Family

    • Parenting style

  • School

    • Academic success

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Alcohol Use

  • Not really a “deviant” behavior

    • Quite normative and common

  • Alcohol industry has been widely criticized

    • Targeting adolescents with the creation of flavored alcoholic beverages (FABs) => alcopops

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Probing the Existence of an Alleged Toronto Gang with Rob Ford Ties:

Is there really a gang? Is it the label created by the media and polices or is it real?

We don’t know who to trust

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Binge Drinking in University

  • 5 drinks in one sitting for males & 4 drinks for females

  • University alcohol use => polarized

  • University binge drinking is not associated with later alcoholism

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More binge drinking among

  • Uni students (more than same age peers don’t go to uni)

  • On-campus students

  • Members of fraternities/sororities

  • University athletes

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“apprenticeship in drinking”

  • University environment is “conducive to binge drinking”

  • Youth who didn’t drink in high school find themselves immersed in an environment where alcohol consumption is normative

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“Anticipatory drinking”

Students drink to the point of intoxication before going out to a bar => to save money

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University alcohol use => polarized

  • Binge drinkers => increase

  • Abstainers => increase

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Controlling Binge Drinking in University Students

  • Prevention paradox => not reduce the harm of alcohol consumption

  • Population prevention approaches => most effective in reducing harm

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Prevention paradox

  • Prevention and retroactive efforts

  • Target the INDIVIDUAL

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Why the prevention paradox not effective?

  • Based on the presumption that students who binge drink are “problem drinkers”

  • Try to motivate problem drinkers to stop drinking

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Population prevention approaches

  • Target the __university environmen__t as a whole

    • limited the places around the university that sell alcohol

    • regulating the prices of alcohol in university venues

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Youth as a risk (troubling youth)

  • School____- and family____-related factors appear to be especially important

  • Relationship between peer behaviour and youth crime is a superficial one

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Perceptions of youth crime

  • Popular images = “out of control” => moral panic

  • Constructed within the media => linked to certain ethnic groups and classes, gender

  • Portrait of youth crime has been repeatedly painted since the early 20th century

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Patterns of youth crime

  • Peaked in 1990s, then steadily decline

    => Youth are overrepresented in the criminal justice system (18-24)

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5 elements of moral panic

  • heightened concern

  • hostility toward the offending group

  • a certain level of consensus that there is a real threat

  • disproportionality

  • volatility

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Moral panic over girls’ violence (4 ways that violent girls are framed in the news)

  • “sinister villains”

  • “uncivilized and subhuman”

  • “harlots”

  • “average Jane... whose violence was an anomaly”

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“sinister villains”

manipulate others and enjoy violence

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“uncivilized and subhuman”

savages who travel together like “wolfpacks” and attack innocent victims

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  • related to romantic relationships

  • motivated by extreme jealousy or sexual rivalry (slut)

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“average Jane... whose violence was an anomaly”

though sympathetic lens

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Youth Gangs

  • No universal definition

    • Media state that they are moving on to social media

  • Membership in gangs is fluid

  • Greater risk of gang involvement => youth who experience high levels of marginalization

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The Social Construction of Gangs

  • “Gangs” are socially constructed

  • Those with power identify groups as gangs

  • Mmbers of racialized groups are NOT more likely to be involved in a gang

=> more likely to be labelled as such

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How media view of youth gang?

  • “out of control”

  • racialize the “gang problem” => emphasize the race in stories about gangs

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Why do Youth Join Gangs?

Gangs will emerge in socially and economically disadvantaged communities

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Merton’s strain theory explain gangs

  • Gang form as an alternative way of achieving status, social acceptance, and economic success

  • Use illegitimate means to achieve goals

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Status frustration theory explains gangs

  • Lower-class boys join with other similar boys in forming gangs

  • Middle-class measuring rod

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Differential opportunity theory explains gangs

Gangs live in communities where illegitimate opportunities are more tangible

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Ethnographic research on gangs

  • Joining a gang is a rational decision

    • Material incentives

    • Recreation

    • Place of refuge & camouflage

    • Physical protection

    • Time to resist

    • Commitment to the community

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Material incentives

  • Most common reason

  • Help you make money (tax free, dealing drugs)

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  • Provide entertainment and a social life

  • There are also gay gang members => seeking place for acceptance

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Place of refuge & camouflage

  • If you commit crimes => your crimes are covered by others

  • Provide a level of anonymity

  • Remove a sense of personal responsibility for illegal activities

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-Physical protection

  • Especially for someone who lives in risky neighborhoods

  • Victimization increases significantly

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Time to resist

Statement of rejection of the type of lives being offered

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Commitment to the community

  • Gang life is a tradition in some communities

  • They can do anything (thief, crime, drugs dealer) so that the poor kids in their neighborhood can have food

    => can cause harm to society

    => to make sure their community is safe and happy

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Gangs with Neighbourhoods

  • Often view their existence as an embodiment of the neighborhood

  • Neighborhoods => provide gangs with financially

  • Mandates any perceived or actual threat needs to be met with strong resistance and defense of territory

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One of the gang’s most defining elements is

A gang’s identification with a specific turf or territory

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Vehement ‘protection’

the primary motivation for gang warfare

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Who benefits from moral panics about gangs?

  • Media

  • Politician

  • Interest groups and community agencies

  • Law enforcement

  • Gangs themselves

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Media benefits from moral panics about gangs bc:

Audiences are more likely to read sensational, dramatic stories => increase profit

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Politician benefits from moral panics about gangs bc:

  • Moral entrepreneurs

  • Vow to toughen legislation and enforcement if elected => get more votes

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Interest groups and community agencies benefit from moral panics about gangs bc:

Provide social programs => may receive more funding

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Law enforcement benefit from moral panics about gangs bc:

Can secure more funding to hire more officers

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Gangs themselves benefit from moral panics about gangs bc:

  • Free publicity => better when ppl speak about you even in a positive or negative way

  • Legitimate your value on the street

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Formal ways to control Youth Gangs and Youth Crime

  • School => educating

  • Community agencies

    • provide them with resouces

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Informal ways to control Youth Gangs and Youth Crime

  • Everyday social interaction => focusing on preventative efforts

  • Parenting efforts, community involvement

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Community agencies control youth gangs through:

  • Retroactive programs

    • Persuade existing gang members to leave that lifestyle

  • Preventative programs

    • Teaching young children about the dangers of gangs

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Juvenile Delinquents Act (1908)

  • Foundation => parens patriae

  • With the right assistance and teaching, young criminals can get on the right path

  • child welfare principles

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Young Offenders Act (1984)

  • Young offenders instead of juvenile delinquents

  • justice principles

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Youth Criminal Justice Act (2003)

  • First-time & non-violent young offenders => treated via community and alternative measures

  • Chronic or violent young offenders => treated more toughly

  • prevention principles, intensified rehabilitation and reintegration

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Limitations of all social control on youth crime

Fails to sufficiently address youth trauma

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Effects of Police Contact on Youth

  • Counter effect

  • Youth who interact with the criminal justice system => more likely to continue with deviant behavior

  • Police contact with marginalized populations is much stricter than the white population

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Why youth who interact with the criminal justice system are more likely to continue with deviant behavior?

  • Internalize the label

    • Suffer the consequence of being labeled by others

    • Start acting that way => enforce negative behavior

  • Deviance amplification

    • Isolated them from good kids

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The school affects delinquency in 2 interrelated ways:

  • Taken over many of the occupational socialization functions formerly done by the family

  • Effects on children’s daily lives

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Relation between delinquency and school

  • Students who have good connections with the prof more likely to doing well than students who have more friends

  • Strong school bonds protected them from being violent

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Zero-tolerance policies that use suspensions or expulsions are


  • Instead of expelling them from school, bad kids need to be pulled back in the school

=> to strengthen the bonds

=> surrounded by emotional supportive environment

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Generation Gap Perception

  • 1950s => the label “teenager”

  • Certainly not because of the adults, it’s because of the teenagers => inherently deviant

  • Reflected in the media

    • Young people => lazy, irresponsible

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Generation Gap in the Past

  • Youth has an absence of self-control (especially sexual self-control), short-temper

  • sturm und drang

  • However, it is parents who bring the emphasis on sports to their sons’ lives and the emphasis on popularity to their daughters’ lives

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sturm und drang

  • Individual development mirrors the evolution of the human species

  • Transition from “beast-like” to “human-like” (growing up)

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Generation Gap at the Present

  • Parents and other adults put so much stress on children

  • Parent-child conflicts do increase during adolescence

=> as young people strive to develop their own independent identities

=> Mostly small, everyday issues

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“keeping up with the Joneses”

Adults who want the same status of car, house, boat, or vacation as their neighbours or co-workers.

=> these examples are really similar to teenagers who want the same kind of clothes or shoes as their peers

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Generation Gap in the Future

  • Due to the busy life => Teenagers receive less direct supervision from parents

  • Engaged time is more important for adolescents than for younger children

  • Adolescent aloneness => potential for new and significant generation gap emerges

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Street racing

  • Unsanctioned & often illegal

  • There are distinctive street racing subcultures in many cities across the world

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Mental Disorders discussion dimensions

  • Experience of the disorders (individual dimension)

  • How people perceive and treat those with mental illnesses (social dimension)

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-List what thoughts, moods, behaviors => are symptoms of mental illness to diagnose what individuals experiencing

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Mental disorders

  • Less able to recognize what is real and what is not

  • Must be of a magnitude and duration substantial enough => to interfere with daily functioning

  • Not black/ white approach => sick vs not sick

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Most common mental disorders

  • Mood

  • Anxiety Disorders

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Mental disorders can be based on

  • Not only individual things but also social factors & economic factor

  • Not that a factor solely affect mental illness => interact with each other, or exaggerate each othe

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Economic factors

  • socioeconomic status

  • Not only about social class but also to changes in financial status due to local, regional, national, or global economic patterns.

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Gender in Mental Disorder

  • Equal overall rates for women and men

  • Different types of mental illness between men & women

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Mental disorder in men

  • antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse disorder, conduct disorder

  • Many of us don’t consider severe mental disorder in men

  • Most of suicides are committed by men

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Mental disorder in women

  • depression, anxiety (common)

  • Sociocultural factors

    • more likely to suffer due to the environment around them (inequality)

  • Try to commit suicide more often than men, but not succeed

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Mental disorder due to Socioeconomic Status

  • Number 1 predictor of mental illness

  • Higher rates among lower socioeconomic status groups

  • Social causation hypothesis

  • Social selection hypothesis

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Social causation hypothesis

  • Poverty leads to mental illness

  • Retreatism => give up on pursuing the goals => mental illness (Merton)

  • Strain has a significant contribution to mental health (negative feelings)

  • Early adulthood and old age (mood & anxiety)

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Social selection hypothesis

  • Mental illness leads to poverty

  • Depends on the types of mental illness (severe)

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Age in Mental disorder

  • Transition from high school to college, have to make adults decision

  • Create chaos as we try to form an identity

  • Higher rates in adolescents/young adults

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Indigenous youth with mental illnesses

  • 90% of Indigenous suicides in only 10% of communities

  • Indigenous communities that experience high rates of youth suicide

=> the least “culturally healthy”

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Cost of Mental Illness (Objective view)

  • Direct and indirect financial costs (healthcare & unemployment)

  • Can lead to physical illnesses

  • Mental illnesses carry the second-highest hospital expenditures (following injuries)

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Cost of Mental Illness (Subjective view)

  • Cost-of-illness estimates should be viewed with some level of caution

    • biochemistry interacts with economics and social norms

  • Fail to take into account => individuals with mental disorders contribute to society outside of the labor force (parents, neighbors)

=> cost-of-illness estimates themselves are reflective of the negative attitudes that surround mental illness

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