Psychiatric epidemiology— looking to the future

Martin Prince, Robert Stewart, Tamsin Ford and Matthew Hotopf

in Practical Psychiatric Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780198515517
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754289 | DOI:
Psychiatric epidemiology— looking to the future

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The daunting objective for this chapter is to summarize issues which face the emerging specialty of psychiatric epidemiology, and to suggest broad directions for future research. Some of these have already been highlighted and we are grateful to contributing authors for providing their opinions as to the ‘state of play’, both in their own contributions and in communications solicited with respect to this chapter. Although the editorial team take responsibility for what is written here, we hope that it can be taken to reflect a wider body of opinion in this field. The issues raised are not intended to be exhaustive, although we hope that any specific omissions can be reasonably included within one or other of the broad themes identified.

Psychiatric epidemiology is a relatively young research specialty. This creates both problems and opportunities. A problem is that it has ‘grown up’ heavily influenced by prevailing paradigms from other older fields—principally general epidemiology (regarding methodologies) and other areas of psychiatric research (regarding systems of classification and diagnosis). These are not automatically appropriate or helpful and may instead be a source for difficulties encountered in research. An advantage however for a young specialty is that it can perhaps more easily discard the trappings of tradition as it seeks to make its way in the world. Current issues will be considered under three broad headings. First, the need for new methodologies will be considered. Next, interfaces will be summarized both between psychiatric epidemiology and other specialties/agencies and within the specialty itself. Finally possible new directions for psychiatric epidemiology will be considered.

Chapter.  6884 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Epidemiology

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