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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Psychiatric terminology : are mental health practitioners speaking the same language? McCarthy, Natalia Anne


Mental health practitioners working in an interdisciplinary environment use psychopathology descriptors to formulate diagnoses, evaluate treatment response and communicate about patient care. Few studies have examined the specific meanings that practitioners ascribe to psychopathology descriptors. It is not clear whether practitioners attribute similar meanings to technical terms or if they effectively communicate these meanings to one another. Transcripts of 14 interviews with mental health practitioners in a provincial psychiatric hospital are analysed to determine whether variations exist in understood meanings of the terms manipulates and bizarre delusion. A rating scale is used to measure the degree of disagreement caused by 15 commonly used psychopathology descriptors. The findings suggest that interpretive variations and disagreements occur among interdisciplinary team members. This may result in negative outcomes for interdisciplinary teamwork and patient care. Further research and education are indicated.

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