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Programs for community mental health, crisis intervention, and brief hospitalization are now common in the United States. These programs have created opportunities for preventative psychiatry on a large scale. The scope of this opportunity underlines a responsibility that must accompany it: a responsibility to base procedures on a maximum of currently available knowledge. Michael Rutter's outstanding book Children of Sick Parents, which was compiled from research done at Maudsly Hospital in London, is a major contribution to knowledge in this area. The book poses pertinent questions derived from a scholarly review of literature, analyzes clinical data in a creative yet statistically rigorous manner, and carefully arrives at interesting, sometimes unexpected, conclusions.
The study was designed to determine how and to what degree parents' psychiatric disorders, physical illnesses, and deaths correlated with emotional disturbances in their children. Close to 750 records of neurotic and conduct-disordered children
Fine P. Children of Sick Parents: Maudsly Monograph No. 16.. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(1):131. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730190133019