Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Psychology, Disorders, Personality, United States, American Sniper, Bad Memories, Veterans, Medicine

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/25

Psychology Cases in Popular Media

Psychology Cases in Popular Media

Observation 1

The New York Times
The article, In Etan Patz Case, High Hurdles for Prosecutors and Defense, discusses the unusual case in a murder of a six year old boy in 1979. A man named Pedro Hernandez is claiming that he is responsible for the crime. The problem is, there is no body, no evidence, and Mr. Hernandez suffers mental illness. As the only witness against himself this story is complex because of his condition(s). “Mr. Hernandez’s lawyers intend to call expert witnesses who will testify he is extremely suggestible and gullible because of his intelligence scores bordering on an intellectual disability and a personality disorder that makes it hard for him to distinguish reality from fantasy” (McKinley, 2015).

Psychological Description:

The case of Pedro Hernandez is an example of problems that may occur in individuals with mental illness that includes personality disorder. Studies on individuals with personality disorders have shown higher probability in future violent and sexual offences. “Several studies have found an elevated prevalence of personality disorder diagnoses amongst those individuals with severe mental illness and criminal populations” (Lindsay, Hogue, Taylor, Mooney, Steptoe, Johnston & Smith, 2006). A study done on 164 offenders showed increased levels of violence correlated with severe personality disorder.


Lindsay, W. R., Hogue, T., Taylor, J. L., Mooney, P., Steptoe, L., Johnston, S., & Smith, A. H.
(2006). Two studies on the prevalence and validity of personality disorder in three forensic intellectual disability samples. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 17(3), 485-506.
McKinley, J. C. (2015, January 29). In Etan Patz Case, High Hurdles for Prosecutors and
Defense. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/nyregion/in-etan-patz-murder-case-high-hurdles-for-each-side.html
Observation 2
The Washington Post
The story of Eddie Routh, the killer of Chris Kyle the ‘American Sniper’ is an example of the problems that may result from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Routh is on trial for shooting Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield on February 2, 2013 while out on a Texas shooting range (Phillip, 2015). Chris had taken Eddie out by request of the Routh family because of the challenges he had faced since his return from combat. The use of PTSD and mental illness are important factors that may be used during the trial.
Psychological Applications:
Individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as war, often have difficulty returning to normal life. The trauma remains in their psyche causing distress and interruption from normal functioning. Although further empirical studies researching PTSD are needed, an association to symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and in some cases violent behaviors are noted in suffers of PTSD (Zatzick, Marmar, Weiss, Browner, Metzler, Golding, & Wells, 2014). Six dichotomous variables were reported as symptoms of PTSD discovered through a survey method.
Phillip, A. (2015, January 22). Trial of Eddie Routh, killer of Chris Kyle, will be darkest chapter
of ‘American Sniper’. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/01/22/the-trial-of-eddie-routh-the-man-who-killed-chris-kyle-will-be-american-snipers-darkest-chapter/
Zatzick, D. F., Marmar, C. R., Weiss, D. S., Browner, W. S., Metzler, T. J., Golding, J. M., &
Wells, K. B. (2014). Posttraumatic stress disorder and functioning and quality of life outcomes in a nationally representative sample of male Vietnam veterans.

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