Alfred Freeborn (Berlin)

Testing Psychiatrists to Regulate Diagnosis after WWII


Ort: Historicum K 327

Zeit: 16-18 Uhr

In the 1950s and 1960s there was a crisis in the validity of schizophrenia as a disease entity. This became the focus of a standardisation drive by the WHO which coordinated with national research organisations like NIMH and the MRC. In the following decade Anglo-American researchers developed standardised structured psychiatric interviews and statistical strategies for their validation, culminating in an international study of how psychiatrists diagnose schizophrenia. By the mid-1970s the validity of schizophrenia as a disease entity had not been demonstrated, but structured interviews had been shown to be useful international standards. Moreover, they allowed the self-regulation of the psychiatric profession by reducing disagreement among psychiatrists over diagnoses. This self-regulation came at a price, however, and while psychiatrists retained control over their patients, they increasingly lost control of their knowledge.

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte".