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December 1967

Schizophrenia and the Poor.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(6):761-762. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730300121019

This fascinating monograph attempts an exploration of the relationship between schizophrenia and poverty. It leads to conclusions which the authors say are obvious, and which seem inevitable in reflecting on certain trends in social psychiatry. The five chapters introduce the problem of mental illness in a social definition, discuss the relationship between status and schizophrenia, explain the divergent literature on the sociology of schizophrenia, and finally attempt to integrate the material with the authors' own explanation. The review of the literature is good and the definitions adequate, though they may seem naive to the psychiatrist. From a beginning sociological definition of mental disorder (ie, labeling of a patient by someone in the social system) to a definition of the lowest class as being poorly organized with unstable or absent occupational roles, it seems but a short step to concluding that schizophrenia is a