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Mental states and political decisions: Commentary on … Psychiatry and politicians

  • Lawrence Freedman (a1)
Summary

The Owen/Russell thesis on the impact of mental illness on political leaders is considered. The importance of the issue is acknowledged. Using the examples of President Kennedy and the Shah of Iran it is argued that what constitutes good decision-making is contingent on circumstances and evaluated by outcomes. There are often alternative explanations to mental impairment for poor decision-making, and that hubris is not the only possible failing. Last, democratic systems have better mechanisms than authoritarian regimes to address the problems posed by leaders who are physically or mentally ill.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Lawrence Freedman (lawrence.freedman@kcl.ac.uk)
Footnotes
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See special article, pp. 140–145, and commentary, pp. 145–148, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Owen, D. In Sickness and in Power. Methuen, 2008.
2 Russell, G. Psychiatry and politicians: the ‘hubris syndrome’. Psychiatrist 2010; 35: 140145.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Mental states and political decisions: Commentary on … Psychiatry and politicians

  • Lawrence Freedman (a1)
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