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Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis

The issue of stigmatization of psychiatric patients, whose mental activity is considered to be different from normal, has been discussed for a long time in the literature. David Rosenhan’s (1973) experiment has provided compelling evidence that the psychiatric healthcare system cannot always adequately distinguish between “sane and insane.” In the course of the experiment, eight pseudopatients, including Rosenhan, simulated auditory hallucinations to enter psychiatric hospitals ranging from public and rural to private, where treatment was rather expensive. When they were hospitalized, they ceased to simulate and reported no hallucinations and healthy well-being. However, almost all pseudopatients were diagnosed with schizophrenia and were required to take antipsychotic drugs. Rosenhan (1973) raises a major research issue: “do the salient characteristics that lead to diagnoses reside in the patients themselves or in the environments and contexts in which observers find them?” (p. 251). The results of the experiment demonstrate that psychologists and other medical personnel tend to ascribe some features that are characteristic of mentally ill people to all patients in a psychiatric hospital.

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It should be noted in particular that the medical staff was guided mainly not by the actual behavior of patients, but by their perceptions of it. Pseudopatients noted that their actions and statements were interpreted through the prism of their diagnosis and were often objectified (Rosenhan, 1973). According to Bartels and Peters (2017), this study is included in approximately half of the abnormal psychology textbooks. It is cited as evidence in favor of the tendency of medical personnel to treat normal behavior as pathological because of the context (Bartels & Peters, 2017). Thus, the habitual perceptions of psychologists associated with the context in which mentally ill people are usually held can lead to inappropriate judgments. This study and its subsequent reflection emphasize the need for an unbiased approach to each individual patient regardless of the context.

References

Bartels, J. M., & Peters, D. (2017). Coverage of Rosenhan’s “On being sane in insane places” in abnormal psychology textbooks. Teaching of Psychology, 44(2), 169-173.

Rosenhan, D. L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science, 179(4070), 250-258.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis. https://studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/

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"Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis." StudyCorgi, 13 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/.


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StudyCorgi. "Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychiatric-patients-context-and-its-impact-on-the-diagnosis/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Psychiatric Patients: Context and Its Impact on the Diagnosis'. 13 January.

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