Intended for healthcare professionals


Robert Evan Kendell

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 01 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:286

Former chief medical officer for Scotland and an expert on the classification of mental disorders

Bob Kendell was a seminal figure in the classification of mental disorders, in a way that deepened understanding. He earned international acclaim as an outstanding writer, a master of logical thinking, and a fine researcher. He decided on psychiatry early in his career and his doctoral thesis argued that there were several types of depressive illness, identifiable with systematically gathered clinical information. His 1975 book The Role of Diagnosis in Psychiatry remains a classic. He made important contributions to mental illnesses of pregnancy, addiction, schizophrenia, hysteria, lithium therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy, showing that the latter was undervalued, and unfairly depicted in the film One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.

He took a double first in natural sciences at Cambridge before doing his clinical training in London. After house jobs at …

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