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Article |

Field Studies in the Mental Disorders

William E. Powles, M.D.
Arch Intern Med. 1962;109(4):491-492. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620160117018.
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When comparisons are attempted between illnesses arising in different parts of the world, a serious difficulty presents itself: Are illnesses appearing similar or called by the same name really the same? This book is about the problems involved in such comparisons. It is not, as the title would imply, a collection of field studies of mental illness, but the proceedings of a study conference organized by the American Psychopathological Association, in which an impressive international galaxy of health authorities discuss the concepts and methods of naming and classifying illness and of designing field studies from which valid comparisons can be arranged. The term "field study," of course, refers to the assessment of cases and populations outside the hospital and laboratory.

A word about the design of this conference as it is reported. Three dozen professionals from Western Europe and the Americas were invited to the conference: Half a dozen of


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