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Vernon, C.R. (1963). Epidemiology and Mental Illness: By Richard J. Plunkett and John E. Gordon. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1960. 126 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 32:431-432.

(1963). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 32:431-432

Epidemiology and Mental Illness: By Richard J. Plunkett and John E. Gordon. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1960. 126 pp.

Review by:
Charles R. Vernon

Psychiatry has become the legitimate concern of epidemiologists; epidemiology now gains the position of being a legitimate basic science of psychiatry.

This is the sixth of a series of monographs published as part of a national mental health survey done by the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health authorized by Congress in 1955. It serves as a report from the authors to the Staff Director of this Commission, Jack Ewalt, M.D.

The relevance of epidemiology to mental illness is based on the assumption that an 'epidemic' of mental illness exists in the United States, estimated as 17,500,000 Americans with psychiatric disturbances severe enough to warrant treatment.

Epidemiologists count the number of mentally ill a population at a given time and measure the rate at which new cases appear; uncover and evaluate the countless variables such as sex, age, marital status, presence of physical illness, and socioeconomic position, and attempt to associate these with mental illness in an individual group under certain conditions; identify patterns of association between mental illness and factors affecting the individual and groups and suggest causal relationships among these patterns; and offer guidance in the conception of public health programs for prevention and control of mental illness.

Population studies in the United States are reviewed and analyzed.

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