Raw Materials and Tools Part 1: Secondary Source Data

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


The psychiatric epidemiologist’s raw materials are data about mental illness obtained from secondary or primary sources. Secondary source data can come from various records and in many forms, usually compilations of the numbers of admissions, diagnoses, treatments, and discharges of patients using public facilities (e.g., mental hospitals, Community Mental Health Centers), or data from death certificates, or reports from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Bureau of the Census, etc. Plunkett and Gordon2 call these data “secondhand information,” since they are compiled by persons other than the investigator. In contrast, primary source data generally are obtained directly by the investigator from patients or other respondents. Plunkett and Gordon call such original data “firsthand information.”


Mental Illness Mental Health Service Census Tract Suicide Rate Social Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. (1).
    Robinson, W. S., Ecological correlations and the behavior of individuals, Am. Sociol. Rev., 15(3):351–357, 1950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. (2).
    Goodman, L. A., Ecological regressions and behavior of individuals, Am. Sociol. Rev., 18(6): 663–666, 1953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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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