Rosenhan (1973)

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Title of the study?
'On being sane in insane places'
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Context of the study?
The anti-psychiatry movement and Mental illness and the law
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What is meant by the anti-psychiatry movement?
Launched in 1960's by Michel Foucault, Ronnie Laing and Thomas Szasz and proposed that mental illness is similar to physical illness and can be diagnosed. Also the concepts of sanity and insanity are merely social constructs.
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What is meant by mental illness and the law?
Rosenhan asked 'if sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them?', in court, psychiatrists tend to disagree on sanity of defendent.
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Aim of the study? (Main one)
To investigate whether diagnosis of insanity is based on characteristics of patients themselves or on the context in which patient is seen.
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Other aims of the study? (3 in particular)
To see if sane individuals would be diagnosed as insane because they presented themselves to psychiatric hospital. To investigate whether hospital staff can tell sane from insane. To test reliability of mental illness diagnoses.
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How many studies were there?
3 studies
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Sample of study 1?
Staff and real patients in 12 American hospitals, Hospitals represented a range of institutions - old, new, well-staffed, poorly-staffed.
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Were the pseudopatients participants?
NO they were confederates
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What sampling method was used in study 1?
Opportunity sample
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Sample of study 2?
Only 1 hospital used, sample was the staff including psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses.
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Sample of study 3?
Staff at 4 of the mental hospitals and staff on a college campus.
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Research method of the first 2 studies?
Controlled Observations.
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Outline an appropriate Null Hypothesis for study 1+2?
Psychiatric staff cannot distinguish sane from insane.
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Research method of study 3?
Field experiment
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Independent variables of study 3?
Pseudopatient or Not
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Dependent variables of study 3?
Time spent responding
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Outline an appropriate hypothesis for study 3
Pseudopatients are spoken to for less time + given less complex answers than non-patients
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Procedure of Study 1?
8 pseudopatients admitted to 12 US mental hospitals for hearing voices: 'empty', 'hollow' and 'thud'. Did NOT give real names, occupations or reason for being there. Once admitted ceased symptoms + made notes about environment. Get out on own devices
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Procedure of study 2?
Staff at 1 hospital informed of previous results and told that 1 or more pseudopatients would try to be admitted in next 3 months. Each member asked to rate all patients who sought admission using 10 point scale, 1+2-high confidence P = pseudopatient
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Procedure of study 3?
One participant (Pseudopatient or Not) approached staff member and asked Q's as normally as possible: "Pardon me, Mr/Mrs/Dr X, could you tell me when I will be eligible for grounds privileges
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Findings from study 1?
7 Pseudopatients diagnosed with 'schizophrenia in remission', Staff thought writing behaviour sign of mental illness, patients treated with little respect - beating, swearing = depersonalising, Average stay = 19 days (Range = 7-52 days).
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Findings from study 2?
41 patients judged with 'high confidence' to be pseudopatients by at least 1 member, 23 suspected by at least 1 psychiatrist, 19 suspected by psychiatrist + 1 member. Staff compensated for previous results by calling the sick healthy.
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Findings from Study 3?
Response to Pseudopatients: 4% psychiatrists answered + 0.5% nurses answered. Response to 'normal' Young lady: All staff answered Q's.
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Discussion of Study 1?
Psychiatrists more inclined to call a healthy person sick. It is dangerous to misdiagnose someone who is ill.
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Discussion of Study 2?
Psychiatric staff compensated for previous results by being more inclined to call a sick person healthy. Psychiatric diagnosis = very unreliable
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Discussion of Study 3?
Mental patients are depersonalised.
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Conclusions of Rosenhan?
Label of abnormality changes the way individuals are perceived. Rosenhan points at situational rather than dispositional explanation for diagnoses.
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Card 2

Front

Context of the study?

Back

The anti-psychiatry movement and Mental illness and the law

Card 3

Front

What is meant by the anti-psychiatry movement?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is meant by mental illness and the law?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Aim of the study? (Main one)

Back

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