Psychology in Action 9th Edition

Psychology in Action

  • Notes
  • 53
  • 100% (1) 1 out of 1 people found this document helpful

This preview shows page 12 - 13 out of 53 pages.

staff did not question the "insanity" of the pseudopatients. When they were released, after periods varying from 7 to 52 days (the average stay was 19 days); those who had been admitted with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were now diagnosed with the label of "schizophrenia in remission." The only persons who recognized that the pseudopatients were not "real" were other patients who asked them why they were there since they were not crazy. (35 out of 118 real patients voiced suspicions.) The key point of this study was that not one of the pseudopatients was detected by anyone on the hospital staff. According to Rosenhan, the fact that normal people cannot be distinguished from the mentally ill in a hospital setting points to the "stickiness of the diagnostic label." Once a patient is labeled as "schizophrenic," all of the individual’s behavior is seen as stemming from that label. Rosenhan speculated that part of the eagerness to diagnose might result from the admitting staffs' unwillingness to turn anyone away. Better to hospitalize someone who may be in need of treatment than to run the risk of suicide, etc. This premise was subsequently tested by informing the hospital staff of the earlier deception with the pseudopatients and by warning them of other pseudopatients who would try to enter within the next three months. Staff members were asked to rate all entering patients with regard to probability of faking on a l0-point scale in which a 1 or 2 indicated a high probability of a pseudopatient. Of the 193 patients who were admitted, forty-one received these low scores, indicating that they were perceived by the staff as pseudopatients. How accurate were the staff members in their perception? They were wrong 41 times--NO pseudopatient had tried to enter. This suggests that poor validity in assessment procedure does not result from being too cautious; rather, the error is in believing that sanity and insanity can be easily distinguished. From Rosenhan's use of participant-observation we gained the opportunity to better understand the patient's point of view. One of the disconcerting things about becoming a mental patient is the loss of credibility as a person. It was easy for the pseudopatients to see how this would occur. Initiation of conversation between staff and patient was dependent on the staff member; if the patient tried to engage the staff in conversation, the staff member kept walking or failed to make eye contact. Staff members would discuss the patients as if they were not present. Physical examinations would be made in a semipublic room where other staff members casually entered. Personal belongings could be searched by staff and interview records could be perused by anyone remotely connected with the hospital. Obviously, the staff members, if they were asked, would have asserted that they did care about the patients: they did not deliberately mistreat them. They simply lacked awareness of the "small" behaviors and daily routines that depersonalize patients and make them feel powerless. This type of
Image of page 12

Subscribe to view the full document.

Image of page 13
You've reached the end of this preview.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern