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Article
September 1978

Psychic Distress, Life Crisis, and Use of Psychotherapeutic MedicationsNational Household Survey Data

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Research in Social Behavior, Berkeley, Calif (Dr Mellinger and Mr Manheimer), and the Psychopharmacology Research Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Balter), and the Social Research Group, George Washington University (Drs Cisin and Parry), Washington, DC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(9):1045-1052. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770330019001
Abstract

• Findings are reported from a nationwide survey of a crosssection probability sample (N = 2,552) of US adults. Data on psychic distress were obtained from a shortened version of the Hopkins symptom checklist, data on life crises from a shortened version of the Holmes-Rahe social readjustment rating scale. Methods for collecting data on use of psychotherapeutic medications were validated in a separate study. Data are presented on the prevalence of high levels of psychic distress and life crisis among various age, sex, and other demographic subgroups; on the relation between life crisis and psychic distress; and on the relation of life crisis and psychic distress to use of psychotherapeutic medications and alcohol. The findings suggest an illness behavior model for the use of psychotherapeutic medications in outpatient practice, and they lend little support to a "selfindulgent consumer" interpretation.

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