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November 1969

Family Background and Life Situation in Alcoholics: A Comparative Study of Parental Deprivation and Other Features in Australians

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(5):602-610. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740230090013

RECENT reviews1,2 testify the inconclusive results of various investigations into the long-term effects of childhood parental deprivation and bereavement in the causation of adult mental ill-health and behavior disturbance. Schizophrenia, depression, neurosis, psychopathic disorder, attempted suicide, and drug addiction as well as alcoholism have been recently studied. Methodological difficulties abound. Gregory3 has listed these as: (1) comparisons between unlike samples, (2) selection which may lead to the samples not being truly representative of the universe from which they are drawn: (3) failure to allow for chance error in sampling and to apply tests of statistical significance to differences observed; and (4) a number of common fallacies which have frequently invalidated deductions, namely unjustified generalization, and unjustified specificity. McConaghy and Lovibond4 have recently attacked the formalistic attitude to certain aspects of methodology, an attribute which manifests itself particularly in the