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Labeling is a term often used for associating certain people with certain traits. Labels are useful tools in modern society, as they ease communication and save time that would have been spent on needless explanations. In psychology, many specialists utilize specific terms to describe a patient’s diagnosis, which is considered ‘labeling.’ The purpose of this paper is to review the positive and negative aspects of labeling in psychology and medicine and general.
Pros of Labeling in Psychology
The most important positive aspect of labeling is related to the accuracy of diagnosing as well as the availability and effectiveness of treatment (Elliot & Grigorenko, 2011). The ease of communication between professionals is necessary when facilitating a professional dialogue and developing new ways of psychological treatment. Lastly, using labels may empower the patients and their parents to do research on their own and learn ways of coping and treating the disease (Hinshaw & Scheffler, 2014).
Cons of Labeling in Psychology
While labeling is a necessary part of the diagnostic process, it is associated with several negative implications. A label is, for all means and purposes, an approximation of a person’s actual condition. This generalization can make psychologists lose sight of some of the personal issues unique to each particular patient (Hinshaw & Scheffler, 2014). Diagnoses also tend to be limited in ways they treat other symptoms found in a patient – many psychologists tend to ignore any signs uncommon to a particular diagnosis, writing them off as a patient’s quirks (Mueller, Fuermaier, Koerts, & Tucha, 2012). Lastly, in many societies labeling leads to stigmatization and self-fulfillment, as many patients start perceiving themselves through the lens of their diagnosis (Blais & Forth, 2014).
While labeling carries plenty of negative connotations in medical science, it is considered a necessary evil. Developing more personalized ways of treating and diagnosing people without labeling them could reduce some of the negative effects mentioned in this paper.
Blais, J., & Forth, A. (2014). Potential labeling effects: Influence of psychopathy diagnosis, defendant’s age, and defendant’s gender on mock juror’s decisions. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 20(2), 116-134.
Elliot, J., & Grigorenko, E. (2011). The dyslexia debate. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Press.
Hinshaw, S., & Scheffler, R. (2014). The ADHD explosion. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Mueller, A. K., Fuermaier, A. B. M., Koerts, J., & Tucha, L. (2012). Stigma in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 4, 101-114.