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Spitz, R.A. (1946). Hospitalism—A Follow-Up Report on Investigation Described in Volume I, 1945. Psychoanal. St. Child, 2:113-117.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 2:113-117

Hospitalism—A Follow-Up Report on Investigation Described in Volume I, 1945

René A. Spitz, M.D.


The striking picture of the infants studied in Foundling Home encouraged us to make every effort to get whatever information we could on the further development of the individual children. Distance made it impossible for the author to attend to this personally. The investigator who assisted in the original study was therefore directed to ascertain, at regular intervals, certain objectively observable facts on all those infants who were still available. He visited Foundling Home during the two years following our own study, at four-monthly intervals. On these occasions, equipped with a questionnaire prepared by the author, he asked the nursing personnel a series of questions. He observed each child's general behavior, and tried to make contact with each. He took some motion pictures of them, and a set of stills at the end of the two years, Finally, some bodily measurements, namely, weight, height, and occipital circumference, were taken.

The questions referred to three principal sectors of personality:

1. Bodily performance: the gross indicator used was whether the child could sit, stand, or walk.

2. Intellectual capacity to handle materials: the gross indicator used was whether the child was capable of eating food alone with the help of a spoon, and whether he could dress alone.

3. Social relations: these were explored by ascertaining the number of words spoken by each child, and by finding out whether he was toilet trained.

We are only too well aware that the resulting information is inadequate for a thorough study. As will be seen, however, even this inadequate follow-up yields a number of instructive data.


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