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May 1964

Relationship of Separation to Depression

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Associate in Psychiatry. Present address: King George Medical College, Lucknow, India.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(5):486-496. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720230048005

There is considerable clinical evidence that psychological factors are of great importance in the precipitation and development of depression. Mendelson1 has pointed out that an extensive body of literature exists with an impressive consensus that in even the most endogenous depressions, emotional factors play a highly significant etiologic role. In the majority of psychological theories concerned with depression, the role of emotional trauma in early life has been stressed. Clinical observations suggest that of all the possible early traumatic experiences, separation in childhood from important persons, and especially parents, plays an important and critical role in depression.

Although there exists an overwhelming agreement in the literature2-6 that severe early deprivation results in pathological personality development, no impressive correlation had been reported until recently between early separation and adult depressive reactions. A significant relationship between parental loss in childhood and adult depression was

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