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December 1966

A Clinical Approach to the Understanding of Normal and Pathologic Adolescence: A Study of Communication Patterns in the Families of Disturbed and Nondisturbed Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From Michael Reese Hospital and University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago (Dr. Marcus); Michael Reese Hospital (Dr. Offer); Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Conn (Dr. Blatt); and the Department of Psychology, University of Houston (Dr. Gratch).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(6):569-576. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730180009003

THIS STUDY grew out of our experiences in conducting diagnostic interviews on all adolescents admitted to the Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Institute at the Michael Reese Hospital over a three-year period, from 1958 to 1961. Parents most frequently sought out psychiatric help for their children because of symptoms relating to socially undesirable behavior on the part of their Children. However, we were impressed with the frequency with which the adolescents Complained that their problems were related to their parents' failure to understand them. Secondly, they tended to complain that they did not understand their parents. Given that parents frequently make light of children's complaints about not being understood and that many theories about the etiology of mental illness emphasize the role of communication (eg, Bateson et a11), we felt it would be valuable to conduct a controlled investigation in which we would determine whether families without demonstrable emotional illness

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