- A concept of medical sociology. In contrast to the 'medical model', in which illness is seen as a physical malfunctioning of the body or its microbiological invasion, the sick role is a temporary, medically sanctioned form of deviant behaviour by patients. The role entails being excused one's usual duties and not being held responsible for one's condition. In return, one is expected to seek professional advice and to adhere to treatments in order to 'get well'. Medical practitioners are empowered to sanction temporary absences from work and family du ties.