The Epidemiologic Background

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


Epidemiologic studies of mental illness and treatment programs in populations supply a scientific data base for social psychiatry. Morris2 defines epidemiology as “the study of the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in groups.” Psychiatric epidemiology, therefore, seeks to ascertain who, where, when, and, eventually, why some become mentally ill. Such data, relating demographic and socioenvironmental factors on one hand and mental illness on the other, make up the bits and pieces of information that we hope can be assembled into a skeleton upon which a theory of mental health and illness can be built.


Mental Illness Seventeenth Century Psychiatric Epidemiology Mass Outbreak Psychosomatic Illness 
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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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