Rosenhan 1973 Summary
Rosenhan (1971) wanted to test the validity of psychological diagnosis in hospitals. 8 perfectly health people/actors(psychology graduate student, three psychologists(including Rosenhan himself), a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a housewife) of which 5 are male and 3 are female were told to act as patents with psychological disorders. These actors then attempt admission into a psychiatric hospital. Rosenhan did not inform the hospital that fake patients will be admitting.
The hospitals failed in identifying the fake patients against the real patients. One fake patient was even diagnosed with schiziophrenia. Nurses and Psychiatrists at the hospitals treated the actors like real patients. Nurses and psychiatrists do not answer the questions the actors asked them they did not even let the actors leave.
The actors were in the hospital for 7-52 days before release.
This study proved the accuracy of which diagnosis can be extremely inaccurate. The psuedo patients were also treated like real patients which relflects of the fact that there is a possibility that normal are falsly diagnosed and are treated based on self-fulfilling prophecies of the nurses and pychiatrists.
In a follow up study, a hospital has been told that psuedo patients will be attempting admission in within three months. A psychiatrist and another staff member suspected 1/10 new patients is a psuedo patient. No psuedo patients were actually sent.
The Rosenhan (1973) study contains many ethical issues such as deception to the hospital staff and stress for the actors. Although this experiment significantly reflected on the inaccuracy of psychiartric diagnosis, the degree of generalizability on applies to psychiatric hospitals in the United States. The methodology of this experiment produced accurate results. In another sense, concepts of abnormality are cultural bound therefore this experiment may not be an accurate representation in other cultures. Since...
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