Rosenhan 1973, 'being sane in insane places'

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  • Rosenhan 1973 'being sane in insane places'
    • AO1
      • AIM
        • To see whether healthy people could be distinguished between those with a mental disorder using to DSM classification system and, if they can be differentiated,how sanity can be identified
        • 8 pseudo-patients to 12 different hospitals 3 women, 5 men
          • All gave false names and those in the medical profession gave false occupations
            • Each one said they could hear an unfamiliar voice of the same sex saying 'empty', 'hollow' and 'thud
              • Apart from the previous details, all other information they gave was true, including relationships, childhood and education
                • When they were admitted, they stopped all abnormal symptoms, though some did admit to acting in a nervous manner at the start of the study (they were worried they would be exposed as frauds)
                  • They took part in ward activities, spoke to staff and fellow patients as they would normally and responded to instructions from staff. Some wrote their observations in a diary.
                    • If asked how they felt, they responded by saying they felt fine and no longer had any symptoms.
                      • Some approached members of staff with a request such as 'pardon me, could you tell me when I am likely to be discharged?
      • FINDINGS
        • All pseudos were admitted, none were detected as being healthy
          • They stayed in the hospital between 7-52 days with an average stay of 19. 35 out of 118 real patients were suspicious about the health of the pseudo-patients.
        • Staff in psychiatric hospitals were unable to distinguish between healthy and those with a disorder. The DSM was therefore, not a valid measurement of diagnosis at this tie
    • AO2
      • G-only used 8 participants, however used old and new hospitals across the country, so it could be generalised to the country's hospitals at that time
      • R-Standard procedure and could be replicated to show reliability
      • A-applications in understanding mental disorders and how to diagnose them
      • V-ecological validity=high as the clinicians were in their everyday job. Experimental validity=high, they were unaware of the study so didn't change their natural behaviour
      • Decieved the cinicians into thinking they were real patients, no informed consent as thy didnt know about the study. Confidentiality was maintained. The pseudo-patients commented they were nervous, so they were harmed in a small way
      • number of days was an objective result so no subjectivity was needed for the results, increasing reliability
        • However, some comments from the pseudos could have been subjective due to emotions they felt, reducing reliability.
      • doctors tend to 'play safe' with diagnosis of disorders, rather than ruling it out and calling a fake straight away
        • the pseudos wanted to be admitted which is a symptom in itself, and they didn't show the normal behaviour of 'there is nothing wrong with me, let me go'
      • DSM has since be revised, so it isn't applicable anymore
      • Spitzer argued the diagnosis of schizophrenia in remission was due to how the pseudos behaved, psychiatrists couldn't tell they were normal, as it is a rare diagnosis, they recognised there was something different about the pseudos


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