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Validity is the extent to which we are measuring what we are intending to measure.In the case of an illness like schizophrenia we have to consider the validity of the diagnostic tools; for example, do different assessment systems arrive at the same diagnosis for the same patient?They said that the voices were unclear, unfamiliar and of the same sex as the pseudopatient.
Staff may be more likely to reverse diagnoses when risks are high (e.g., loss of professional esteem).
Essentially Rosenhan’s research showed that psychiatrists cannot reliably tell the difference between an insane and sane person, calling into question the reliability of a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Normal behaviour was interpreted in the context of illness (e.g., nursing records suggest writing is pathological).
Staff reversed some diagnoses due to the situation (expecting pseudopatients).
Once on the ward, the pseudopatients stopped pretending symptoms, behaved normally and wrote observations.
Pseudopatients were discharged only when they convinced staff that they were sane.
Conclusion: Psychiatric staff cannot always distinguish sanity from insanity.
Any diagnostic method that makes such errors cannot be very reliable or valid.
In order for a classification system to be reliable, the same diagnosis should be made each time.
Therefore different psychiatrists should reach the same decision when assessing a patient.