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September 1961

Clinical Quantification of Depressive Reactions

Author Affiliations

From the Dept. of Psychiatry, Evanston Hospital, Evanston, Ill.
Resident in Psychiatry, Downey V.A. Hospital, Downey, Ill. (Dr. Kurland).
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology and Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School (Dr. Cutler).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;5(3):280-285. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710150062010

Introduction  Most attempts to illuminate our understanding of mental disorders have relied for many years upon some combination of the patient's and observer's subjective data. Validity of the approach has long been based on "common sense" and can rarely be verified. There is an increasing need to find ways to relate quantitative variations in such objective parameters as are measured in psychochemistry and neurophysiology, etc. to measurable variations in clinical behavior.In another study by one of us (R.P.C.), a reliable method was devised in which pathological activity was expressed as a numerical score that could be treated statistically. However, it is not applicable to the present problem since it does not quantify thought content and it lacks simplicity.1,2Excluding the method already mentioned, the only tools so far by which quantification of psychiatric disease states can be ascertained are termed "rating scales." In

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