Sick role

Sick role

The Sick Role was a concept invented by Talcott Parsons in 1951. It is a term widely used in medical sociology. ‘Being Sick’ is not simply a ‘state of fact’ or ‘condition’, it is a specifically patterned social role. The theory outlined two rights of a sick person and two obligations:


  1. The sick person is exempt from normal social roles
  2. The sick person is not responsible for their condition


  1. The sick person should try to get well
  2. The sick person should seek technically competent help and cooperate with the medical professional

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