Social context and social workers' judgment of mental disorder

Stuart A. Kirk, Jerome C. Wakefield, Derek K. Hsieh, Kathleen J. Pottick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We examine biases in social workers' assessment of antisocial youths based on the responses of 250 MSW students to clinical case vignettes describing youths engaging in antisocial behavior, all of whom satisfied the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, criteria for conduct disorder. Respondents were to judge whether the described youth had a psychiatric or mental disorder. We manipulated the content of the vignettes to suggest either internal dysfunction (i.e., disorder) or a normal response to a difficult environment (i.e., nondisorder) as the cause of the antisocial behavior. Contrary to the claims of critics, respondents generally appropriately distinguished, based on contextual information, between disordered and nondisordered youth. However, a minority of students did appear to display bias, primarily in the direction of underdiagnosis of disorder.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)82-104
    Number of pages23
    JournalSocial Service Review
    Volume73
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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    mental disorder
    social worker
    trend
    edition
    critic
    diagnostic
    student
    minority
    cause

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Kirk, S. A., Wakefield, J. C., Hsieh, D. K., & Pottick, K. J. (1999). Social context and social workers' judgment of mental disorder. Social Service Review, 73(1), 82-104. https://doi.org/10.1086/515798

    Social context and social workers' judgment of mental disorder. / Kirk, Stuart A.; Wakefield, Jerome C.; Hsieh, Derek K.; Pottick, Kathleen J.

    In: Social Service Review, Vol. 73, No. 1, 01.01.1999, p. 82-104.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Kirk, SA, Wakefield, JC, Hsieh, DK & Pottick, KJ 1999, 'Social context and social workers' judgment of mental disorder', Social Service Review, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 82-104. https://doi.org/10.1086/515798
    Kirk, Stuart A. ; Wakefield, Jerome C. ; Hsieh, Derek K. ; Pottick, Kathleen J. / Social context and social workers' judgment of mental disorder. In: Social Service Review. 1999 ; Vol. 73, No. 1. pp. 82-104.
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