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Women's Accounts of Psychiatric Illness and Institutionalization
Jeffrey L. Geller
Psychiatric Services 1985; doi:
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The University of Pittsburgh and the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

1985 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Throughout the past century and a half, American women have written published accounts dealing with their mental illness and its treatment, yet this area of literature has been largely overlooked by those who study the relationship between gender and mental health. In their widely varying accounts—some autobiography, some thinly disguised fiction, and some poetry—women have provided valuable insights into the relationship between their mental illness and its treatment and their roles as wives, daughters, victims, and advocates. The accounts also reflect the impact of female-oriented psychiatric therapies, cultivation of stereotypical female behaviors, and deinstitutionalization policies on women psychiatric patients. The author illustrates these themes with passages from the approximately 175 accounts he has located to date.

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