Bruce P. Dohrenwend, PhD, Chief
From its beginnings, this Division has focused on questions about the role of adversity and stress in the onset and course of psychiatric disorders that are differentially related to gender, to ethnic/racial background, and to socioeconomic status. These disorders include schizophrenia, major depression, antisocial personality, substance abuse (including alcoholism), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most recently, this research has focused on war-related PTSD in U.S Veterans of the war in Vietnam.
In recent years, several programs of research and research projects have been added. Briefly, these are as follows:
--The study of community-level processes that affect health and mental health. This program has examined AIDS, crack, violence, tuberculosis, asthma and other epidemics that have shaped life in poor neighborhoods in the US.
--Studies that emphasize interrelationships between social factors and genetic factors as they affect psychiatric disorders and other health outcomes. This includes investigations of birth cohorts that follow individuals from pregnancy/birth onward. Also included are investigations aimed at identifying genetic and environmental factors related to trisomic miscarriage, chromosomally normal miscarriage, birth defects such as congenital heart defect, and ovarian aging (e.g., age at menopause).
--Study of the epidemiology of mental disorders as a base for the development of global mental health policies. For example, studies of migrants to Europe, studies of incidence of psychoses in Africa and Latin America, and comparisons of treated and untreated individuals with psychoses in China.