African American soldiers -- Mental health -- History -- 20th century.
Military psychiatry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
National Medical Association (U.S.)
Although the American literature on "war neuroses" expanded during World War II, psychiatrists remained more interested in dramatic instances of "combat fatigue" than in the problems of soldiers who broke down far from the field of battle. This bias in the medical literature shaped both diagnosis and treatment. It had an especially powerful effect on African American soldiers who, in the "Jim Crow" army of World War II, were assigned in disproportionate numbers to service units. When military neuropsychiatrists did write about troubled young African Americans, many revealed a racial conservatism that was surprising given the liberal environmentalist paradigm of the day. (Here, a particularly useful source is the two-volume history of Neuropsychiatry in World War II, produced by the Medical Department of the U.S. Army.) The major challenge to such views came from the National Medical Association (NMA). Despite its many criticisms of military medicine, the NMA argued that African American soldiers and veterans needed more, not fewer, psychiatric services. NMA members also joined their white counterparts in the campaign to diminish the stigma of mental illness, especially among the families of soldiers returning home. We need more investigation of the subsequent history of race and psychiatry, especially within the Veterans Administration.
psychiatry, race, Neuropsychiatry, World War II, Army Medical Corps, National Medical Association, African American soldiers.
Social medicine -- Scotland -- History -- 19th century.
This article considers the public health and social-reform agitations of Dr. William Pulteney Alison (1790–1858), professor of medicine at Edinburgh University and leader of the Scottish medical profession, in the context of Scottish moral philosophy. Throughout his career, Alison reflected on what has come to be recognized as a central problem of social medicine: where did its domain end? At what point did the medical mission of identifying and eliminating factors that harm health pass into a non-medical domain—the provinces of political economy, individual liberty, participatory politics, or acceptance of nature's dictates? On these issues Alison was an expansionist, relentlessly pushing back the borders of medicine. Drawing on Alison's writings on such disparate topics as the philosophy of mind, the epidemiology of infectious diseases, and modes of agrarian organization, the article argues that the trajectory of much of Alison's work was to discover the structural implications of a comprehensive biological reading of human capacity and behavior. It is therefore appropriate to see him as a promulgator of a "political medicine," which he presented as a critical alternative to the classical political economy of the Scottish Malthusians. The article concludes by suggesting that Alison's work (and influence) have been under-recognized and remain pertinent to modern social epidemiology, public health, and medicine more broadly.
William Pulteney Alison, epidemiology, common sense philosophy, Thomas Robert Malthus, philosophy of public health, medicine in Scotland.
Depression, Mental -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Psychiatry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Women -- Mental health -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Between the first (1952) and the third (1980) editions of psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, depression emerged as a specific disease category with concrete criteria. In this article, I analyze this change over time in psychiatric theory and diagnosis through an examination of medication trials and category formation. Throughout, I pay particular attention to the ways in which psychiatrists and researchers invoked science in their clinical trials and disease theories, as well as the ways in which gender played an important but largely unspoken role in the formation of a category of depression.