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July 1957

The Social Problem of Mental Deficiency.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(1):111-112. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330370125021

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This small volume marshals a good deal of diverse evidence in its scientific call to a humanist approach to the mentally defective. The authors remind us quite forcefully that mentally deficient people are people first and mentally deficient second. When employment is high, most of these persons find work and make a reasonably good social and personal adjustment. Most of them are not seriously neurotic, delinquent, or psychotic. Most of them belong in the community, not in the hospital. Many an imbecilic child is not an imbecilic adult. Group and individual psychotherapy can make important differences in the lives of these human beings. Furthermore, we are urged to go beyond I. Q. tests in evaluating the cognitive functioning of the feebleminded and the imbecile.

The first portion of the book contains a historical background, an examination of the prevalence of mental deficiency, and the available mental deficiency services in Britain