Abnormal Psychology Textbooks: Valid Science or Political Propaganda

Simon, Laurence
July 2006
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;Summer2006, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p101
Academic Journal
It is argued that an examination of various abnormal psychology textbooks reveals that they read more like political propaganda than fair, valid science. All of the examined texts conformed closely to the psychiatric medical model as represented by the latest version Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Occasional critiques were levied at the DSM, but they were invariably dismissed and not debated in any serious manner. All of the texts involved in this study invoked the name of psychiatric critic Thomas Szasz and either dismissed his ideas without adequate representation or stated that he need not be taken seriously because he is too radical or possibly disturbed. All manner of assertions were present in these tomes as to the validity of the biogenic etiology of the disorders discussed without either presenting valid empirical evidence to support the assertions or discussing the rich and varied literature that refutes the biogenic hypotheses. It is concluded that students are not being served by these expensive textbooks and should be exposed to a variety of primary source material representing the many sides of conflict within the mental health field.


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