What is it about?

Language changes and that change can contribute to stigmatizing mental illness. The new title is the Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science. This reflects our editorial boards’ best efforts to anticipate, and perhaps avoid, the terminology treadmill. The term psychopathology has been around for almost 2 centuries, and it has not yet accrued stigma. Perhaps this is because it labels the study of mental illness, rather than those who suffer from it. It also acknowledges a sentiment that people with mental illnesses express in a number of different ways—that they suffer from something exceptional, deserving of understanding and treatment. Clinical Science, the other component of the title, recognizes the full continuum of traits, risk factors, stressors, and other exposures can lead to, co-occur with, or are consequences of psychopathology. Both terms reflect our interest in the mechanisms that undergird the suffering of so many.

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Why is it important?

Stigma and mental illness is a problem that increases the burden of mental illness by contributing to undertreatment and increasing the isolation of those in our society most at risk; this shift in language recognizes how common mental illness can be, and why it is inappropriate to call them "abnormal"


Co-authored by the journal's editor-in-chief as well as its two previous editors, this is change whose time has come.

Angus MacDonald
University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science is the future of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology: An editorial., Journal of Abnormal Psychology, January 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/abn0000665.
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