An Investigation of the Secular Acceleration of Psychiatric Disorders


Secular acceleration, for example an increase in height in groups of people over a period of time of more than a century, is a unique, perhaps “ecological” event. In the study presented here, historical patient files from the Jena Psychiatric Clinic were evaluated in relation to the problem of acceleration. A first sampling of 119 patient files for the years 1880-1890 revealed that, for children and adolescents up until the end of their twentieth year of life, the average age at the time of their first admission was 17 years. Compared to this, the first admission of a second sample of 132 patient records for the years 1985-1987 revealed a clearly younger average age at first admission of 11 years. This difference in age was found to be statistically significant. The heights of 14-year-old subjects from the city of Jena for the years 1880 to 1975 obtained from the literature showed a documented increase in height of almost 20 cm. The results of our investigation revealed that, in addition to physical acceleration, there was also an advancement of pathological mental processes in the course of a period of 100 years.

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Lemke, S. and Vries, S. (2015) An Investigation of the Secular Acceleration of Psychiatric Disorders. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 5, 121-127. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2015.51013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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