Psychiatric assessments impacted by gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, study finds

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A new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology finds that gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status affect the outcome of psychiatric assessments in Sweden. According to the current research headed by Martin Wolgast of Lund University, male service users were seen as more dangerous and were less likely to be recommended for psychotherapy.

“Arab Swedish” service users were seen as more dangerous, were less likely to be recommended to psychotherapy, and were more likely to be reported to social services. Service users from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to be recommended for psychotherapy.

The authors write:

“The performed analyses identified several instances in which the clinicians’ assessments varied as a function of the social categories under investigation. For example, male patients and “Arab Swedish” patients were perceived as more dangerous, “Arab Swedish” patients, male patients, and patients with low socioeconomic status were less likely to be recommended psychotherapy, and “Arab Swedish” patients were more likely to be reported to social services. The effect sizes were generally small.”

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Richard Sears teaches psychology at West Georgia Technical College and is studying to receive a PhD in consciousness and society from the University of West Georgia. He has previously worked in crisis stabilization units as an intake assessor and crisis line operator. His current research interests include the delineation between institutions and the individuals that make them up, dehumanization and its relationship to exaltation, and natural substitutes for potentially harmful psychopharmacological interventions.