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discuss bias in the diagnostic system

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Introduction

Discuss bias in the diagnostic system? The DSM (diagnostic statistical mental disorder) is a hand book listing different categories of mental disorders and the criteria for diagnosing them. The DSM has goals such as to provide a common short hand language for effective communication. Also to provide appropriate treatment following diagnoses. For the DSM to achieve these goals it must be both reliable and valid. What is validity, validity is when a test can be said to accurately do what it is saying. There are four criteria's for validity in psychological assessment, these are predictive- the extent to which diagnostic categories allow for prediction of the out of disorder and its treatment. Aetiological-the same factors must be found in all individuals who make up the diagnostic group. Another criterion is descriptive- this is the extent to which patients in the same category differ. Criterion- this is assessed by using the same individual using both the DSM and ICD. ...read more.

Middle

In the second part of the experiment involved asking staff at a psychiatric hospital to detect non-existent fake patients, the staff falsely identified large numbers of genuine patients as impostors. This study shows that psychiatrist labels tend to stick in a way that medical labels do not. Everything a patient does is interpreted according with diagnostic label. The study also shows the DSM cannot always diagnose the people correctly. Another issue we are going to look at that causes bias in the diagnostic system is culture. Culture is an important issue when placing a diagnosis on someone. Culture is a set of beliefs and practices that characterizes a group of people; culture varies over the world with different ethnic groups such as Jews, Muslims Christians and Hindus etc. However due to different cultures, bias can occur in the diagnostics system. These biases are such as cultural attitudes- attitude can affect the reporting of symptoms which will affect prevalence and incidence rates. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other issues which effect culture bias are vulnerability; different cultures are more likely to react differently to health problems. A study conducted by Levav et al (1997) compared incidence rates of alcoholism and depression in American Jews and Catholics and Protestants. They found that Jews had the highest incidence rates for depression and lowest incidence rates for alcoholism. Culture bound syndrome also plays an important role in bias in the diagnostic system. This is the belief that disorders are specific to a certain culture. Berry et al (1992) highlighted 3 types of syndromes these were absolute- the same symptoms and incidence rates. Universal- same symptoms but incidence rates vary throughout world, and culturally relative- symptoms unique to that culture. An example of culture bound syndrome is koro- the belief that sexual organs are shrinking and disappearing into the abdomen. In conclusion all these culture issues can cause a problem when diagnosing someone with the DSM. As you can see with the issues above there is clearly bias in the diagnostic system these can be due to cultural, social and interpretation issues. ...read more.

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