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July 1967

Experiment With Abnormal Families: Testing Done in a Restricted Communication Setting

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif
From the Mental Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(1):53-63. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730250055008

CLINICIANS who treat whole families report that the "identified patient's" Psychopathology is a product of the kind of family in which he lives. A major goal in family research has been to find evidence for or against the idea that families of psychiatric patients are different from average families which do not contain such patients. Methods of investigating this question have included interviewing family members, observing families in the home, bringing families to the laboratory for raters to observe conversations, and taking measurements of family behavior in experimental contexts. The latter approach was used in the study reported here. Samples of families with a diagnosed patient or a family problem were contrasted with control groups of average families in a restricted communication network while discussing two different kinds of conversational stimuli. Few differences were found between the two groups.

The problem of determining