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December 11, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(24):1991. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780500047017

Although there have been numerous inquiries into the incidence of psychoses and other "neuropathic" conditions among the relatives of the mentally defective, statistically valid figures as to frequency have not yet been obtained. According to a recent report,1 80 per cent of mental defectives have a positive family history of mental deficiency. This fact, if fact it is, lends support, it is asserted, to the theory that most mental deficiency is due to hereditary factors. In order to be significant, however, it must be controlled by knowledge also of the corresponding familial history of mental deficiency for the normal population. In an attempt to ascertain the frequency of such abnormalities among the relatives of normal persons, the Mental Deficiency Committee of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association devised a questionnaire, which was circulated among the mental hospitals, with the request that it be filled out by as many of the staff as

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