Rosenham

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Rosenham

Rosenham 

Aim: To test hypothesis that psychioatric diagnosis was not reliable and not valid 

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Participants

Particpiants 

  • Staff at 12 psychiatric hospitals
  • Old + New hospitals 
  • Staff were unaware of research
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Method

Method 

  • Particpant observation 
  • 8 Pseudo patients (inc. Rosenham)
  •  3 women + 3 men 
  • range of occuptions 
  • each contacted hospital for appointment 
  • claimed to hear voices of same sex 
  • False names 
  • all admitted but one with diagnosis of schizophrenia 
  • Started behaving normally once admitted and collected data on staff and patient interactions 
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Results

Results 

  • Length of time ranged from 7 - 52 days
  • Mean = 19 days
  • No detection by staff 
  • Disharged with diagnosis: schizophrenia in remission 

Behaviour interpreted with context of Schizophernia included:

  • Normal account of pseudo patients' relationship = dysfunctional 
  • Queing early for lunch = Oral Aquisitive Syndrome
  • Taking notes = Writing behaviour  
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Data Collected

Data Collected 

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Study 2

Study 2

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Method

Method 

  • Larger teaching + research hospital 
  • Told to expect pseudo patients over next few months 
  • Knew about first study 
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Results

Results 

  • 193 patients were rated 
  • 41 suspected
  • No pseudo patients actually sent 
  • staff making type 1 error to avoid making type 2 error 
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Conclusion

Conclusions 

  • Process of diagnosis open to many errors
  • Hospital environment + Labels = Perception of patient behaviour as insane 
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Evaluation

Evaluation

Strength

  • High ecological validity 
  • Participant observation = detailed data 
  • No demand characteristics 

Weaknesses

  • Serious ethical issues (invasion of privacy, consent, deception)
  • not as many controls as lab 

Uses 

  • Suggests improvements to hospital care and staff training 
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