Being with madness: personality characteristics of three treatment staffs

R. M.A. Hirschfeld, S. M. Matthews, L. R. Mosher, A. Z. Menn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The personality characteristics of the nonprofessional staff of Soteria House, an innovative residential treatment program for schizophrenics, are assessed and compared with characteristics of representative staffs from two more traditional mental health programs of schizophrenics: a university psychiatric ward and a community based program staffed by a specially trained group of state hospital aides. A battery of selfreport personality questionnaires was used. Analysis of the data indicates an overall similarity of personality profiles in the three groups. All groups demonstrated two sets of characteristics considered desirable for therapists of schizophrenics: the ego strength qualities of self assurance, emotional maturity, independence, and autonomy, and the affective qualities of warmth, sensitivity, and empathy. However, within a third set of characteristics, descriptive of cognitive attitudinal qualities, the Soteria staff possessed significantly more intuition, introversion, flexibility, and tolerance of altered states of consciousness. The authors speculate that it is this last set of characteristics that allows the Soteria staff to function in the program's intensive, unstructured treatment environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalHospital and Community Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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