April 11, 1986

Origins of Mental Illness: Temperament, Deviance and Disorder

Author Affiliations

Greenville, NC


by Gordon Claridge, 213 pp, $45, paper $9.95, Oxford, England, Basil Blackwell Publisher, 1985.

JAMA. 1986;255(14):1941. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370140139041

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Gordon Claridge is a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and a university lecturer in abnormal psychology. He brings a clinical background to neurophysiological research and attempts to bridge the gap between these two aspects of psychopathology—the clinical and the experimental.

The central theme he develops is that "psychiatric disorders—even their most severe forms—are abnormal manifestations of temperamental and personality characteristics which we all possess to a greater or lesser degree and which have interesting and testable correlates in the conceptual nervous system." The biologic basis of mental illness is contained in his theory. Genetic as well as environmental influences do contribute to differences in human individuality, but he sees the task of abnormal psychology as finding ways of integrating factual evidence about biologic differences between people. With due regard to human individuality of expression and irreducible biologic processes in the conceptual nervous system, he proposes that normal development, psychological deviance,