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March 1965

Antecedents of Isolation And Mental Illness In Old Age

Author Affiliations

Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, California Department of Mental Hygiene and Department of Psychiatry, University of California School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(3):245-254. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720330019004

Background  RESEARCH ON the mental disorders of old age, as on those of younger age groups, has demonstrated that the mentally ill, both hospitalized and nonhospitalized, are considerably more socially isolated than are their healthier peers. The findings of the overall research program (see end of article) on which this study is based are no exception. Berkman, in his analysis of the correlates of psychiatric disability in a community sample of 600, has shown that at all age levels over the age of 60, those suffering from moderate or severe psychiatric disability live a more restricted social life than do those who are psychiatrically healthy.2 Comparisons between this community sample and a group of 534 elderly persons hospitalized for psychiatric reasons for the first time at age 60 and over reveal very dramatic differences between the two groups on a number of measures of