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December 1960

One Description of Mental Health and Disorder

Author Affiliations

Syracuse, N.Y.
C. W. Post College of Long Island University (Dr. Scanlon).
New York State Mental Health Research Unit (Dr. Lichtenberg and Mrs. Cassetta).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(6):575-582. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710060007002

Introduction  This report pertains to a description of mental health and disorder with emphasis upon a continuum of severity. The continuum being reported is called Functional Disability. Our aim is to make quantitative inroads upon clinical descriptions.Recent extensive reviews in the field of mental health2-5 suggest that there are 2 fields of research and practice in which major progress depends upon a continuum of mental health: the epidemiology of mental disorder and the evaluation of the effects of psychotherapy. Many studies referring to the epidemiology of mental disorder note such a need, especially for the "definition of a case." Similarly, the evaluation of psychological treatment depends upon some basis for defining improvement as movement along a scale of severity of mental disorder. Both fields will be helped substantially by a satisfactory description of a mental health continuum.

Theoretical Description  The continuum of mental

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