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December 2, 1992

Self-Help: Concepts and Applications

Author Affiliations

Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY

JAMA. 1992;268(21):3137. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490210125052

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Passing by an urban playground one may see knots of young mothers on park benches absorbed in conversations about when to start feeding orange juice and where to find a babysitter for the return to work. Other new mothers become a source of solace, friendship, and information, and of outgrown baby clothes. Self-help groups are probably as old as the human race, from hunting parties to barn raisings, but in the 1980s organized self-help groups became more open and legitimated in US culture. As indicated in a recent New York Times article ("O.K. on the Self-Realization; What About the Economy?" by Maureen Dowd, July 27, 1992, p Al), the Democratic party convention brought a whole new self-help flavor to political discourse, in sharp contrast to 1972 when Senator Thomas Eagleton was deemed unfit for vice-presidential candidacy when it was revealed that he had once been treated with electroconvulsive therapy for