Preface  pp. xiii-xiii

Preface

By J. K. Wing and G. W. Brown

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This monograph presents the results of part of a programme of research in social psychiatry and is intended to be read in conjunction with other publications from the Social Psychiatry Research Unit (Brown, Bone, Dalison and Wing, 1966; Wing, 1966a; Wing, Bennett and Denham, 1964). The first of these monographs was concerned with schizophrenic patients admitted to the same three hospitals in 1956 and followed up for five years. It is therefore a companion volume to the present one.

Marvin Opler (1967) has complained that the development of a scientific social psychiatry is held up for lack of an Einstein. We feel that the time is hardly ripe for a Copernicus, let alone a Kepler or Galileo, and that our subject has only just reached the threshold of a scientific age. We should be very content if our work were thought merely to have contributed some ‘hard and obstinate’ facts, after the manner of Tycho Brahe, to a subject where theories are all too easily elaborated but are rarely meant to be tested. Nevertheless, we have worked from a set of interacting social and biological theories which have evolved from a series of investigations into schizophrenia and which we think might prove a useful model for studies of other psychiatric syndromes as well.

We have avoided elaborate statements about statistical significance. Differences have been tested by χ2 (two-tailed test), by analysis of variance or by non-parametric techniques as appropriate, but none of our conclusions rests on the value of any particular probability.