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June 1969

Parents of Schizophrenic, Neurotic, Asthmatic, and Congenitally 111 ChildrenA Comparative Study

Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Calif
From the Institute of Human Development, the University of California, Berkeley.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(6):659-674. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740180043005

THE ETIOLOGICAL influence of parents in regard to the psychological problems of their children has been the focus of many investigations and the subject of considerable controversy. A reason for past confusion has been the failure to recognize that a theory of personality disorders presuming pathogenic parents must rest on the notion of specificity if it is to be at all helpful. That is, particular parent behaviors must be associated with specific kinds of child behavior. Moreover, specific parental behaviors must be encountered significantly more often among the parents of children falling within a particular psychiatric category while being relatively uncharacteristic of the parents of children manifesting other kinds of psychopathology. In these terms, the evidence for a specificity hypothesis presently is scanty. More empirical attention must be directed toward this theoretical concern if the hypothesis of parental etiology is to receive a

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