The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews


More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Psychology


Show Summary Details


Martha Mitchell effect

Quick Reference

A misinterpretation of a person's justified belief as a delusion, often by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or general practitioner. The term was introduced in 1988 by the English-born US psychologist Brendan A(rnold) Maher (1924–2009) in a chapter in a book entitled Delusional Beliefs that he co-edited. [Named after Martha Beall Mitchell (1918–75), wife of the US Attorney General John Mitchell at the time of the Watergate scandal in 1972, who accused the White House of using her husband as a scapegoat to protect President Richard Nixon. She was widely believed to be deluded, although her allegations were eventually vindicated]

Reference entries