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August 5, 1983

American Psychology Since World War II: A Profile of the Discipline

Author Affiliations

Yale-New Haven Hospital New Haven, Conn

JAMA. 1983;250(5):674-675. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340050078039

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 book provides an excellent survey of the expansion and developments in American psychology since World War II. The author clearly and succinctly outlines the evolution of the various schools of modern psychology.

He traces the history of psychology, its rapid expansion during the two world wars, and its use in screening, classifying, and training recruits, preparing them for military functions. The American Psychological Association, founded in 1892, had 169 members by 1904; 4,200 by 1945; and over 40,000 members by the mid-1970s. The number of psychology journals and courses and the financial support for psychology also proliferated at a similar exponential rate. As Gilgen further describes, Psychology was uniquely favored, in part, because it is classified: as a science and is therefore eligible for monies from the National Science Foundation; as a helping profession and therefore supported by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; and, finally, as one