American Journal of Social Science Research
Articles Information
American Journal of Social Science Research, Vol.1, No.1, Apr. 2015, Pub. Date: Apr. 8, 2015
Differences in Clinician Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder Diagnoses According to Client Race
Pages: 52-56 Views: 1559 Downloads: 992
Authors
[01] Robert C. Schwartz, School of Counseling, University of Akron, Akron Ohio, USA.
[02] Kevin P. Feisthamel, Counseling, Health and Disability Services, Hiram College, Hiram Ohio, USA.
[03] Symphonie D. Smith, School of Counseling, University of Akron, Akron Ohio, USA.
Abstract
Prior research indicates that African Americans are more often assigned severe mental disorder diagnoses (e.g., schizophrenia) compared to Euro-Americans. Mental disorder diagnoses can impact personal perceptions (e.g., self-stigma), social interactions (e.g., prejudice and discrimination), intimate relationships, and occupational opportunities, and treatment-related decisions. However, little research has investigated racial disparities among anxiety and bipolar disorder diagnoses. This study evaluated whether licensed diagnosticians disproportionately diagnosed Euro-Americans or African Americans with anxiety and bipolar disorders. Chi square analyses of a community mental health center’s initial diagnoses over a continuous 12-month period (N=1,648) revealed that Euro-American clients were more often diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (p< .05). No differences in bipolar disorder diagnoses were found (p = .08). These results support the contention that specific mental disorder diagnoses are assigned disproportionately to persons of certain races. Implications of these findings are discussed, including recommendations for reducing potential diagnostician bias and increasing assessment-related objectivity.
Keywords
Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Race, Diagnosis, Mental Disorder
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