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Psychiatric EpidemiologySearching for the Causes of Mental Disorders$
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Ezra Susser, Sharon Schwartz, Alfredo Morabia, and Evelyn Bromet

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195101812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101812.001.0001

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The Arc of Epidemiology

The Arc of Epidemiology

(p.15) 2 The Arc of Epidemiology
Psychiatric Epidemiology

Ezra Susser (Contributor Webpage)

Sharon Schwartz

Alfredo Morabia

Evelyn J. Bromet

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the evolution of causal research in epidemiology and how it influenced and was influenced by studies of psychiatric disorders. It discusses the three broad eras comprising the past evolution of epidemiology, spanning the period from the beginning of the 19th to the close of the 20th century (Sanitary Era, Infectious Disease Era, and Risk Factor Era). Each era lasted about fifty–seventy-five years and introduced a distinctive way of thinking about the causes of disease. The transition from one era to the next brought a powerful new strategy for finding causes and improving public health, but also led to the neglect of approaches developed in the previous eras, so that the field took ‘three steps forward and one step back.’ A fourth era is emerging, although its shape is not yet clear.

Keywords:   psychiatric epidemiology, causal research, mental disorders, public health, Sanitary Era, Infectious Disease Era, Risk Factor Era

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