Psychiatric disability and clinical decision making: the impact of judgment error and bias

Clin Psychol Rev. 2004 Oct;24(6):707-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2004.06.003.


The psychiatric disability adjudicator is presented, with multiple types of evidence regarding claimants, and, utilizing primarily clinical judgment, must weigh and integrate this information before rendering a disability decision. The need to process large amounts of evidence in this fashion can result in the use of cognitive simplification strategies in the form of heuristics or specific types of decisional bias which can produce judgment error. The purpose of this review is to increase awareness regarding the role that bias can play in determining an individual's psychiatric disability status, using a large federal disability program for context purposes. Recommendations are also made regarding steps that can be taken to anticipate and reduce decision-making bias.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Disabled Persons / classification*
  • Eligibility Determination*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Social Sciences
  • United States