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February 8, 1964

Life Stress and Mental Health: The Midtown Manhattan Study

JAMA. 1964;187(6):464. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060190080033

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The Midtown Manhattan Study is based on a two-hour interview of 1,660 persons, randomly selected, in midtown New York City. The material thus obtained was subjected to intensive study and statistical review. The first volume (1961) reached two major conclusions: mental health risks increase with age and are greatest among low socio-economic-status (SES) subjects.

The present volume, dealing with the relationship between stress and impairment of mental health, is replete with many observations, some well known, others less commonly recognized. All, however, have the virtue of being objective findings rather than subjective impressions. For example:

Differing rates of mental health disturbances in different ethnic groups are related not to the ethnic group but the level of the SES.

Physical and mental health are "hopelessly intertwined."

The impact of "hard times" is not from the financial deprivation but from the associated loss of affection.

Husbands whose wives have a higher level

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