[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 1973

Resilience of Family ProcessEffect of Secobarbital

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md; Boston
From the Section on Experimental Group and Family Studies, Adult Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr. Reiss), and the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston (Dr. Salzman).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(3):425-433. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750330097016

Secobarbital was administered to offspring of family threesomes to test the resiliency of family problem-solving processes to psychological changes in one of its members. Twenty-four families were used, half receiving 175 mg of secobarbital and the other half receiving a placebo on a double-blind basis. Family problem solving and speech patterns were measured by a card-sorting experimental procedure and computer analysis of automatically-transcribed voice records.

The drug produced no objective change in the problem solving of the offspring or his family but produced marked changes in the family's speech patterns. The findings suggest that speech changes may have been compensatory, preventing a sustained change in family problem-solving process in response to the drug.