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Am Psychol. 1996 Nov;51(11):1130-3.

Revolutions and counterrevolutions in prevention.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, USA.


The new prevention science put forward by the National Institute of Mental Health and by the Institute of Medicine advocates strict experimental interventions with controls to reduce risks for psychiatric disorders. Articles by R. F. Muñoz, P. J. Mrazek, and R. J. Haggerty (1996, this issue), K. Heller (1996, this issue), and D. Reiss and R. H. Price (1996, this issue) support, elaborate, and discuss this agenda. Issues that seem controversial include (a) the use of risk reduction of psychiatric disorders as the criteria for acceptable research, (b) rejection of studies of competence promotion as not aimed at specific disorders, and (c) rejection of prevention studies, done before the counterrevolution that occurred in 1980 and thereafter, that advocated social and political change aimed at achieving social equality for disadvantaged groups. Arguments against the restricted new approach are presented.

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