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February 1969

The Psychiatric Dilemma of Adolescence.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(2):252-254. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740140124026

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Does the adolescent patient suffer from a genuine psychiatric illness that requires treatment, or is his problem "adolescent turmoil" that will subside, of itself, with future growth? To resolve this dilemma, Masterson undertook a thorough longitudinal study of 101 outpatient adolescents and then compared them with a matched control group. He delineates the relationships of adolescent turmoil to psychiatric illness and details the specific problems in diagnosing schizophrenia, personality disorders, character neurosis, and the effects of epilepsy in adolescents. He describes the clinical outcome in longterm follow-up of the outpatient group, compares the outpatients with the control group and with "relatively healthy" adolescents selected from the control group, and in the final synthesis he presents a new appraisal of the psychiatric significance of "adolescent turmoil." Numerous illustrative case studies and a detailed appendix setting forth the systematic and clinical methods, complete the study.


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