March 1966

Parental Loss in Adults With Emotional Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine and The Neuropsychiatric Institute, State of California, Department of Mental Hygiene, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(3):307-314. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730090083013

THE PAST 35 years have seen the publication of more than 50 reports which have been concerned with the relationships of early parental deprivation to the development of psychiatric illness. In spite of this, the significance of childhood parental loss in the histories of adults with mental disorders remains unknown, or unclear at best. Witness the following conflicting statements which have appeared recently in the literature: "Maternal bereavement occurred more frequently in . . . psychoneurotic patients than in the total population."1 "Parental loss incidence in neurotics and controls was almost identical."2 ". . . schizophrenic patients . . . have suffered loss of a mother in childhood by an amount that differs significantly from the control group."3 "The results ... do not confirm the presence of a higher incidence of overall parental deprivation in schizophrenic patients than in normal controls."4 Other evidence attesting to the inconclusive state

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