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May 5, 1962

Psychopathology of Aging

JAMA. 1962;180(5):432. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050180078032

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The proceedings of the Fiftieth Annual Meeting of the American Psychopathological Association in 1960 comprise the contents of this volume. The presentations, perhaps somewhat arbitrarily, are divided into 4 sections: epidemiology, psychology, psychophysiology and genetics, and management problems. Unfortunately the volume is not integrated around a definition of "Psychopathology" in the aged, (i.e., by what criteria are individuals with pathological psyches to be differentiated from those with normal psyches), and they utilize such gross examples of pathology as admission to a mental hospital, a situation without refinement of conceptualization and tantamount to granting to others the opportunity of forming a definition, without control over those formulations. Problems of evaluating such important questions as incidence and severity of psychopathology in the aged (or in any group) are severe because of these definition issues, and more attention might profitably have been devoted in the book to this issue.

There were several interesting