Heredity and Mental Disorders

  • Steven G. Vandenberg
  • Sandra Manes Singer
  • David L. Pauls


In this book we shall be reviewing the evidence for hereditary factors in behavior disorders in adults and children. These will include both the very serious ones, such as schizophrenia, and milder ones, such as stuttering. The importance of mental health can hardly be overemphasized. At a meeting of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Trade of the House of Representatives in 1953, when the problem of mental illness first became a high priority issue in national government, the following remarks were made:

Mental illness is the nation’s No. 1 health problem. More than half of all hospital beds in this country are occupied by the mentally ill. The number of mentally ill patients in the United States exceeds the number of patients suffering from any other type of illness. Mental ill health represents our greatest health problem in cost. Conservative estimates based on incidence studies have shown that approximately 50% of patients who are treated in general practice have psychiatric complications. If the present birth rate remains constant, if the number of mentally ill who are hospitalized remains constant, and if the cost for hospitalizing the mentally ill remains constant, each year’s crop of new babies will, because of the percentage of them who will go to mental hospitals, cost the taxpayers ...$800 million before they die. 2. At least 6% of the total population, 9,000,000 people, suffer from a serious mental disorder. Of 980,000 disability discharges from the Army during the period December 1941 through December 1945, 43% were for neuropsychiatrie reasons. 3. Of the 500,000 resident patients in our State mental hospitals, one-quarter have been hospitalized for more than 16 years, one-half for more than 8 years, and three-fourths for more than 2.5 years. (Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 1953, pp. 1030–1134)


Mental Disorder Mental Illness Behavior Disorder Mental Hospital Hereditary Factor 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven G. Vandenberg
    • 1
  • Sandra Manes Singer
    • 2
  • David L. Pauls
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleUSA
  3. 3.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations