Collection MS-13-86 - The Sterling County Study reports by Alexander H. Leighton

Research design in the Sterling County Study : a research program in social factors related to ps...

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The Sterling County Study reports by Alexander H. Leighton

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  • Textual record

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  • 1953-1958 (Creation)

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Physical description

8 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Alexander H. Leighton was a sociologist and psychologist and the lead researcher of the Stirling County Study, an investigation into social factors related to psychiatric health. Born on 17 July 1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he received a BA from Princeton University (1932), an MSc from Cambridge University (1934), and an MD from Johns Hopkins Medical School (1936). He held professorial appointments in both the departments of psychiatry and community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University, as well as in sociology and anthropology at Cornell, and he was professor emeritus at Harvard. He also served on multiple advisory committees for the governments of Canada and the United States and for the World Health Organization, and over his lifetime received a multitude of awards and honours. He died in 2007.

In 1948 Leighton initiated the first of the post-war studies of the distribution and prevalence of mental illness in a general population. The Sterling County Study is still active and was at one time directed by Leighton's wife, Dr. Jane Murphy Leighton. One of its initial findings in the Digby area of Nova Scotia, was that one in five adults experiences mental illness, most commonly depression, anxiety and/or alcohol abuse. Similar studies were carried out in other settings, including New York City, Alaska, Nigeria and Vietnam. Other investigations of this type now number in the hundreds and have been conducted across the world.

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The custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

Collection contains five early reports from the Sterling County Study. One report contains a covering letter to C.B. Stewart from J.S. Robertson, Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Health.

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Files are listed chronologically.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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Generated finding aid

Associated materials

See the Chester Stewart fonds (MS-13-61) for additional records on medical research in Nova Scotia.

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Further accruals are possible, but not expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Alexander H. Leighton fonds, MS-13-86, Box [box Number], Folder [folder Number], Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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November 2012

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