The Making of Contemporary American Psychiatry, Part 2: Therapeutics and Gender Before and After World War II

Universtiy of California, Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute, USA.
History of Psychology (Impact Factor: 0.26). 09/2005; 8(3):271-88. DOI: 10.1037/1093-4510.8.3.271
Source: PubMed


In this article, the 2nd in a 2-part series, the authors use patient records from California's Stockton State Hospital to explore the changing role of gender norms and other cultural values in the care of psychiatric patients. The authors show that cultural values are always imbedded in psychiatric practice and that their role in that practice depends on the patients, treatments, and therapeutic rationales present in a given therapeutic encounter. Because the decade following World War II witnessed dramatic changes in psychiatry's patients, therapeutics, and rationales, Stockton State Hospital's patient records from this time period allow the authors to show not only the extent to which gender norms shape psychiatric practice but also how psychiatry's expansion into the problems of everyday life has led to psychiatry taking a more subtle and yet more active role in enforcing societal norms.

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Available from: Joel Braslow, Mar 24, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Although physicians have attempted for centuries to uncover the biological differences between men and women with regard to mental illness, they continue to face the challenges of untangling biological factors from social and cultural ones. This article uses examples from history to illustrate three common problems in trying to establish biological differences: identifying factors as sex-based when they are really gender-based; overlooking changes in masculine and feminine roles over time; and placing too great an emphasis on hormones. By using the benefit of hindsight to identify problems from the past, we can think more critically about these issues in the present and the future.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Bioethics Quarterly