• Nancy L. Day
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


Although most reviews of psychiatric epidemiology trace the beginnings of the field to much more recent times (Grob, 1985; Weissman & Klerman, 1978), early reports of mortality from psychiatric disorders can be found in the seventeenth-century observations that were made by John Graunt (1662/1939), one of the first investigators to systematize data collection and hence one of the first epidemiologists. In 1632, in the 122 parishes in the vicinity of London, England, Graunt observed that of the 9,535 deaths, 5 died of “lunatique,” 15 people “made away themselves,” 1 was “affrighted,” and 11 died of grief. In addition, 7 were “murthered” and 18 were “executed or prest to death” (p. 24), clearly non-psychiatric diagnoses, but areas of interest to modern psychiatric epidemiology. Further, he went on to note that these causes of death, unlike the plague, remained relatively constant from year to year.


Mental Illness Psychiatric Disorder Psychiatric Morbidity Social Disorganization Prenatal Alcohol Exposure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy L. Day
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburghUSA

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