Book review of Crazy Like Us on

STATS is an organization that examines the reliability and validity of quantitative findings in social science and medicine for laypeople, specifically journalists. Today they feature a book review of Ethan Watters’ Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, by none other than yours truly. Here’s a teaser:

those of us who work in the small corner of mental health research that examines the differences in diagnoses and symptoms between cultures are somewhat surprised by Crazy Like Us; our field, generally, remains well hidden in the crease between psychology and anthropology. That our first popular treatment should be a highly critical survey of this field of mental health is doubly shocking.

Keep reading, here .


1 Response to “Book review of Crazy Like Us on”

  1. 1 Foster March 20, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I read your article on ALdaily, and felt it might be useful to note just how narrow the definitions of psychiatric health have become.

    I am Canadian, but live in the US. Recently, one of my children received necessary and important help for an eating disorder. It was very interesting to me that habits I would consider completely normal and positive, such as studying hard for school, were interpreted by our therapists in the US as signs that the child was OCD. Now, perhaps I am not objective; after all, this is my child we’re discussing; nevertheless: why is it a psychological norm to shrug off school, and how does it show that you are OCD if you don’t do that? Only because this is the norm among the teenagers with whom these therapists engage, whereas the more serious attitude (I’m revealing my prejudices, but also my experience) of students who study in other countries (even countries as closely similar to the US as Canada) did not seem “normal.”

    Diagnostic leveling, then, to a standard determined by a public school system in crucial need of repair, is another aspect of the problem you address.

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