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, 32 (4), 420-6

Natural History of Male Psychological Health. III. Empirical Dimensions of Mental Health

Natural History of Male Psychological Health. III. Empirical Dimensions of Mental Health

G E Vaillant. Arch Gen Psychiatry.

Abstract

In a nonpatient polulation, the concept of mental health was operationally defined both in terms of behavior and of abstract psychological functioning. Ninety-five college sophomores, selected for psychological health, were prospectively followed up for 30 years. They were assessed by independent raters on a scale reflecting objectively defined healthy adult adjustment; on a scale of clinically defined psychiatric illness; and on a scale of maturity of ego defenses. These three scales were highly correlated. It seemed likely that relatively objective items like length of vacation, divorce, heavy use of mood-altering drugs, career dissatisfaction, and visits to medical physicians can--as a cluster--statistically identify the abstract concept of mental health.

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