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October 1966

Retrospective Data Concerning Childhood Loss of a ParentII. Category of Parental Loss by Decade of Birth, Diagnosis, and MMPI

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(4):362-367. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730160026005

IN THE FIRST of these two articles,17 the rationale for studies of childhood loss of a parent was reviewed, together with some persistent problems in making appropriate comparisons between frequencies of parental loss in patients and in control populations or samples. Comparisons were then made between observed frequencies of parental death during the childhood of 321 patients, and expected frequencies derived by actuarial computation. In the present article, several categories of permanent parental loss are considered separately, and their relative frequencies compared among 1,000 admissions to a psychiatric inpatient service, according to decade of birth, clinical diagnosis, and their Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) high points.

There have been many studies of broken homes, and of specific categories of childhood parental loss, in relation to the subsequent development of delinquency or persistent antisocial behavior. Bowlby4 stressed the possible long-term significance of early separation from