Reliability of diagnosis

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Psychology schizophrenia unit 4 revision
Reliability of diagnosis
A reliable diagnosis are when 2 psychiatrists get the same diagnosis when
observing a patient.
Whaley found that 2 psychiatrists who were studying reports of possible
schizophrenics only agreed 11% of the time on diagnosis. Therefore diagnosis of
schizophrenia was unreliable as psychiatrists find it hard to agree most of the
Culture: Copeland asked 134 American psychiatrists and 194 British
psychiatrists to read descriptions of possible schizophrenics and say which
ones were schizophrenic. Found that Americans said 64% were
schizophrenic compared to the British who said only 2% were schizophrenic.
Therefore culture influences the reliability of diagnosis and so the culture
we are brought up in can affect the likelihood of a diagnosis and the
reliability of it when the same books are used.
Co morbidity: when a patient has 2 or more mental illnesses. This makes it
hard to get a reliable diagnosis as 1 illness can hide another. For example a
patient may show signs of depression as well as negative symptoms of
schizophrenia. Therefore it can be hard to diagnose a patient as
schizophrenic as depression can hide the negative symptoms. In order to
treat a patient we have to be sure that they have 2 different mental
Books: several books are used to define schizophrenia. The DSM-IV is used
in the UK and America. China uses the CCMD and the rest of Europe uses
the ICD. As different books are used to define schizophrenia, patients can
be diagnosed differently depending on where they are from. Therefore
diagnoses care unreliable as 2 different psychologists have different views
on what extent a patient is schizophrenic as they are trained with different
books so each will have a slightly different idea of what schizophrenia is.
No objective test: such as a blood test so there is no way to be sure a
patient has schizophrenia. Therefore it's hard for psychiatrists to agree as
their diagnosis is their own opinion.
Different types: more than 1 type of schizophrenia such as schizoaffective
and schizophreniform. These are similar and the only differences are the
time frame for the symptoms to be present and the schizoaffective type
also needs depressive and manic symptoms. Therefore it is hard to see which
type a patient has.
Subjective interpretation: Mojtabi and Nicholson found that American
psychiatrists only agreed 40% of the time when asked to say if descriptions
of delusions were bizarre or not. Therefore the symptoms can be

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Psychology schizophrenia unit 4 revision
interpreted differently as psychiatrists find it hard to agree on what
bizarre means due to three different opinions and beliefs…read more


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