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December 1966

The Code of Chronicity

Author Affiliations

From the Mendota State Hospital, Madison, Wis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(6):562-568. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730180002002

THE code of loyalty among delinquents, prison inmates, criminals, and certain oppressed minority groups is a Well-Known social phenomenon. This code of behavior represents not only the acceptance of socially deviant group values but specifically Prohibits a member of the group from Consort-ing with members of other groups, especially those representing "authority." A breach of code, resulting in the apprehension or Punish-ment of other group members, is likely to result in social ostracism, ridicule, physical punishment, or death for the transgressing member. Such epithets as "stool pigeon," "stoolie," "rat-fink," "teacher's pet," "asskisser," and "brown-noser" are reserved for those individuals who cooperate with authority figures responsible for controlling or modifying the behavior of the group in which these individuals belong. Of interest is the ambivalent attitude of those in authority toward "informers." On the one hand they are dependent on these people for vital information; on the other hand they regard

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