Congratulations Dr Hugh Webb, winner of the JG Crawford Prize for 2017 for his PhD thesis

17 June 2019

Psychology is delighted to advise that Dr Hugh Webb been awarded the J G Crawford Prize for 2017 for his PhD thesis titled: Disorder Identity: Opportunity or Obstacle?
The Crawford Prize is the premier award for graduate research excellence at ANU with only one awarded each year across all of the sciences. 

“Disorder Identity: Opportunity or Obstacle”

Hugh Webb, PhD (Clinical Psychology)

This thesis develops a social psychological analysis of Hacking’s (1999) “looping kinds” account of psychopathology. Informed by Social Identity Theory (SIT, Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Self Categorization Theory (SCT, Turner et al., 1987), a Disorder Identity.

Analysis is proposed, according to which the symptoms of psychopathology are partly shaped by the interaction between expert clinical categorisation schemes and first person Disorder Identities, represented as self-categories and shared by fellow individuals who experience disorder. A set of theoretically informed predictions are then derived for empirically scrutinising Hacking’s “looping kinds” account and to help explain apparent coherence, stability and change observed in psychopathology. Results from five experimental studies are then reported, demonstrating support for one of the predictions derived from the Disorder Identity analysis: that identifying with fellow disorder sufferers could either enable or be a barrier to clinical change, depending on the group’s normative understanding about the malleability of the condition. These findings suggest that the proposed Disorder Identity Analysis shows promise as a means of specifying, and empirically operationalising, Hacking’s “looping kind” arguments.

The Prize consists of an engraved medal in a case, the award of $2,000, a framed certificate and a citation in a folder.  Hugh will be receiving his award at the ANU Graduation Ceremony on the 18th July.