Goldwater Rule: An informal ethical code that prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions about the mental state of someone they haven’t personally evaluated. The rule has been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association since 1973; officially, it is known as Section 7.3 of the APA’s ethics principles.
The rule is named after Barry Goldwater, the U.S. senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate whose extreme (for the time) conservative views prompted a survey, published in Fact magazine, in which 12,356 psychiatrists were asked whether Goldwater was mentally fit to serve as president. Almost half of the respondents answered that Goldwater was unfit, “describing him as ‘unbalanced,’ ‘immature,’ ‘paranoid,’ ‘psychotic’ and ‘schizophrenic,’ and questioning his ‘manliness.’”
The rule has been in the news during the current election cycle because of widespread claims, from professionals and laypeople alike, that the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is psychologically unstable.
Trump and Goldwater, via History News Network