McAdams Featured in National Podcast '1A'

McAdams Featured in National Podcast '1A'

Dan McAdamsPresidents should be judged on their character and competence rather than their mental health, Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams said on “1A,” a live WAMU radio program distributed nationally by National Public Radio.

During the program, “Mental Health and the White House: Past, Present and Future,” hosted by Joshua Johnson, McAdams and several other guests discussed whether the White House should have a full-time psychiatrist on staff.

McAdams, who wrote “The Mind of Donald Trump,” one of the Atlantic’s most popular cover stories of 2016, agreed that mental health should be destigmatized. But mixing it with politics is a slippery slope, he said.

“Imagine mental health professionals on each side during a campaign throwing out diagnoses; we’d be weaponizing the campaign with another armament, that being the medical profession,” McAdams said.

“I think we should stick to things like temperament, character and morality; these discourses are very important,” said McAdams, a faculty member of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.

“If Congress decides Mr. Trump is unfit to be president, with say, impeachment, it will be on those issues; it won’t be about mental health. It will be about character; did he really collude with the Russians? It will be about ethics, and it will be about competence. And ultimately it will be political. He will have alienated folks on his side who will turn against him.”

McAdams is the director of the Foley Center for the Study of Lives. He teaches in SESP's Human Development and Social Policy program

 Listen to the full program.   

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 4/7/17