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The Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 27, Issue 1–4, pp 102–114 | Cite as

The importance of cultural evaluation in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment

  • Stella Chess
  • Kenneth B. Clark
  • Alexander Thomas
Article

Summary

Experience at a child guidance center with patients drawn from varying national and racial backgrounds shows the necessity for evaluating cultural factors for accurate diagnosis and optimum treatment. A number of case histories are reported in which there were significant cultural differences between the patient and the examiner or therapist, and where appreciable errors of diagnosis and evaluation of treatment occurred, or were under consideration, because the examiner or therapist was not sufficiently aware of these cultural differences and their manifestations.

A number of psychiatric reports are also cited from World War II which noted difficulties when standard psychiatric criteria from civilian life were applied without taking into account the radically different cultural setting in the war-time army. A similar development is reported in the field of psychological testing, where leading workers have become increasingly aware of the decisive importance played by cultural factors in determining test results. The theoretical implications of these findings regarding the significance of the cultural factors in psychiatric evaluation are discussed.

Keywords

Foster Parent Psychopathic Personality Negro Girl White Teacher Negro Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Johnson Reprint Corporation 1952

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stella Chess
    • 1
  • Kenneth B. Clark
    • 1
  • Alexander Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Northside Center for Child Development and New York University College of MedicineNew York

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