The natural history of medical and psychiatric disorders in an American Indian community

James K. Boehnlein, J. David Kinzei, Paul K. Leung, Don Matsunaga, Robert Johnson, James H. Shore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In 1969, a Pacific Northwest American Indian community cohort (n=100) was interviewed for the presence of physical and psychiatric illnesses. The same community was studied again in 1988. This study describes the outcome among the original 100 subjects. The schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia Lifetime Version (SADS-L) served as the basic interview instrument, supplemented by data from medical records, death certificates, and medical and community informants. Twenty-five subjects had died, 13 from cardiovascular disorders and seven from alcohol-related illnesses. Among the 46 subjects re-interviewed, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes had become significant sources of medical morbidity. Alcoholism was the most significant cause of psychiatric morbidity, particularly among males. This study indicates that greater attention should be focused upon prevention and treatment of alcoholism, cardiovascular disorders, and diabetes in this community and in other American Indian populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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