The Social Psychiatric Setting

  • John J. Schwab
  • Mary E. Schwab
Part of the Topics in General Psychiatry book series (TGPS)


How these two fundamental aspects of the human condition—man segregate and man congregate—conjoin to influence the emotional well-being of persons and groups is the essence of social psychiatry. Despite some controversy about its status and some continuous conceptual and semantic confusion, interest in social psychiatry has been growing recently, especially since the early 1950s. It received an impetus from the social concerns generated by the disruptions of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Historically, interest in social psychiatry stems from the age-old belief that mental illness is a product of civilization, a viewpoint that was expressed by the ancients—Democritus in the fifth century b.c. and Lucretius 400 years later. From early on, astute observers of the human condition have recognized that the individual and the collectivity are inseparable and that man’s mental state is influenced by what is happening to mankind.


Mental Illness French Revolution Social Psychiatry Rapid Social Change Lonely Crowd 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Schwab
    • 1
  • Mary E. Schwab
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBostonUSA

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