, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 110-117

Diagnostic bias in community mental health

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Mental health professionals and nonprofessionals observed an interview with a healthy man after hearing a renowned mental health professional, acting as a confederate, characterize him as psychotic. Both professional and nonprofessional subjects then tended to diagnose the healthy man as mentally ill, even though his behavior was healthy by multiple criteria. The biasing effect of prestige suggestion upon diagnosis is discussed in terms of the efficacy of psychiatric diagnosis to community mental health.

This study was partially supported by the faculty research fund of the University of Oklahoma. For their help, the author wishes to thank Jane Chapman, Helen Klein, Ruth Mansfield, Robert Ragland, and Dr. Duane Roller, Chairman, Faculty Research Committee.