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From closed ranks to open doors: Elaine and John Cummings' mental health education experiment in 1950s Saskatchewan

From closed ranks to open doors: Elaine and John Cummings' mental health education experiment in 1950s Saskatchewan
From closed ranks to open doors: Elaine and John Cummings' mental health education experiment in 1950s Saskatchewan
During late 1951 and early 1952, married couple, social biologist Elaine Cumming and psychiatrist John Cumming, led a mental health education experiment in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. The study, which was intended to inform strategies toward deinstitutionalization, sought to determine if attitudes regarding mental illness could be changed through commonly used educational practices. It was shaped by the shared interests of powerful philanthropic, charitable, psychiatric, academic and governmental bodies to create healthier citizens and a stronger democratic nation through expert knowledge. However, in addition to the disappointing findings indicating that attitudes remained unchanged, the town appeared to close ranks against the research team. Nonetheless, the Cummings’ later association with sociologists at Harvard University enabled them to interpret the results in a way that lent the study credibility and themselves legitimacy, thus opening the door to their careers as very successful researchers and policy-makers.
0018-2257
257-286
Kendall, Kathleen
7c1c7abc-513b-4da5-b99d-268cd1d8bc58
Kendall, Kathleen
7c1c7abc-513b-4da5-b99d-268cd1d8bc58

Kendall, Kathleen (2011) From closed ranks to open doors: Elaine and John Cummings' mental health education experiment in 1950s Saskatchewan. Histoire Sociale - Social history, 44 (88), 257-286. (doi:10.1353/his.2011.0012).

Record type: Article

Abstract

During late 1951 and early 1952, married couple, social biologist Elaine Cumming and psychiatrist John Cumming, led a mental health education experiment in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. The study, which was intended to inform strategies toward deinstitutionalization, sought to determine if attitudes regarding mental illness could be changed through commonly used educational practices. It was shaped by the shared interests of powerful philanthropic, charitable, psychiatric, academic and governmental bodies to create healthier citizens and a stronger democratic nation through expert knowledge. However, in addition to the disappointing findings indicating that attitudes remained unchanged, the town appeared to close ranks against the research team. Nonetheless, the Cummings’ later association with sociologists at Harvard University enabled them to interpret the results in a way that lent the study credibility and themselves legitimacy, thus opening the door to their careers as very successful researchers and policy-makers.

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Published date: November 2011
Organisations: Medical Education

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 336223
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/336223
ISSN: 0018-2257
PURE UUID: 4cd6c6bb-2fc0-4754-9bb7-1004175b743a

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Date deposited: 19 Mar 2012 14:15
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 22:04

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