Month: April 2013

  • Social Factors and the Evaluation of Mental Disorders

    The American Psychiatric Association is set to release the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) this month. These new guidelines will have a profound effect on how clinicians diagnose mental disorders, how health insurers reimburse for treatment, how drug makers market their products, and how the government determines benefits […]

  • Public Opinion Squared

    When you see something created in front of your eyes, you have to think about what it is that you’ve just seen. Such was the case the other week when I was helping a BBC radio journalist on attitudes to disability benefits, where – as if by magic – she produced ‘public opinion’ for their […]

  • Lying with statistics

    In the midst of the argument we in the UK are currently having about welfare, it’s worth highlighting one factor that’s standing in the way of honest debate. This is politicians’ routine, wilful abuse of numbers. It’s an old complaint. So old it’s basically a cliché. And this is a big part of the problem. […]

  • Immigration reform without public benefits

    Any viable immigration reform proposal in the United States senate has to pass through Florida Republican Marcio Rubio. That’s why it was big news when Rubio announced his support for a bipartisan plan on the Sunday news shows, stressing that the new program would establish a pathway to citizenship but offers very little to immigrants […]

  • Boston is Resilient

    Bloodshed and mayhem on the streets of any city is tragic, but Boston is particularly disturbing to me. I spent many pleasant spring afternoons wandering the shops around Copley Square and, on one occasion, I cheered on runners at the normally joyous finish line of the marathon. Today is different. There is much we don’t […]

  • Justifying ‘Never-Working Families’?

    In a recent post, Lindsey Macmillan showed that “The ‘never working’ family may be an easier sound bite but it is not representative of the true situation”. Here she responds to yet another attempt to make these claims – except this time, the Government have been forced to justify their claims in a Freedom of Information […]

  • Social Progress – A League Table

    Strange though it is to say, but alternatives to GDP are becoming fashionable. This week saw the launch of a new measure of ‘social progress’ on which to rank countries – and perhaps surprisingly, Britain did really rather well, not just beating the USA but also Germany and Japan. As the Telegraph’s headline put it, ‘Britain […]

  • Immigration and reciprocity

    There’s been so many claims about benefits lately in the UK that it’s difficult to know where to start in responding to them. Rather than talk about Mick Philpott (about which enough has been said elsewhere) or the question of whether the social security Secretary of State can live on £53 per week, I thought […]

  • Ease off the alarm bells: New data on ADHD diagnosis rates

    The New York Times has a cover story today reporting on the estimated prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (they don’t identify the survey by name). The story is going to get a lot of people interested in what is happening to children — every new datapoint on ADHD […]

  • British and U.S. Inequality Over the Lifecourse: An Important New Report

    Ben and I both attended the Social Change Harvard-Manchester Initiative (SCHMi) summer institute in 2010, a joint program between the University of Manchester and Harvard. A core group of SCHMi researchers just released a report, authored by Rourke O’Brien (also of the SCHMi summer class of 2010), entitled Inequality, Instability, and Mobility in Family Life. […]