Science, Tech, Math › Social Sciences Sociology Definition: Sick Role Share Flipboard Email Print Social Sciences Sociology Key Concepts Major Sociologists Deviance & Crime News & Issues Research, Samples, and Statistics Recommended Reading Psychology Archaeology Economics Ergonomics Maritime By Ashley Crossman Updated November 14, 2018 The "sick role" is a theory in medical sociology that was developed by Talcott Parsons. His theory of the sick role was developed in association with psychoanalysis. The sick role is a concept that concerns the social aspects of becoming ill and the privileges and obligations that come with it. Essentially, Parsons argued, a sick individual is not a productive member of society and therefore this type of deviance needs to be policed by the medical profession. Parsons argued that the best way to understand illness sociologically is to view it as a form of deviance, which disturbs the social function of the society. The general idea is that the individual who has fallen ill is not only physically sick, but now adheres to the specifically patterned social role of being sick.