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February 1960

The Happy College Student Myth: Psychiatric Implications

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.
From the University Health Service and the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Michigan.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(2):131-136. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590080007002

There are more than 3,000,000 students currently enrolled in the nation’s 1,900 colleges and universities. Many of these institutions maintain mental hygiene facilities, which have furnished a considerable amount of information on the subject of student mental health. The over-all impression created has been that the psychic difficulties experienced by college students are not as serious as those that beset the rest of the population. Much of the literature on the subject is replete with statements tending to implant the idea that little, if anything, is wrong with most students who seek help at a college mental hygiene clinic. As examples of these statements we have the following: “The vast majority of college problems belong to none of the well-known neurotic or psychotic classifications”; “Most of the cases involve personality adjustment and are not significantly clinical in nature,” and “All but a few are

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