Patricia Cohen, PhD, who passed away in July 2018, is best known for tracking the mental health of a large group of children for 30 years:
Patricia Cohen, born in 1936 and raised in Minnesota, was a professor of Clinical Epidemiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; she received her PhD in Social Psychology from New York University. Along with her second husband Jacob Cohen, she wrote extensively on multiple regression analyses.
As a research psychologist, Cohen published more than 200 articles on the “onset and course of Mental illness based on her 30-year-study of more than 800 children in upstate New York, some as young as nine years old. She detailed the history of psychiatric problems of the large group, known as the “Children in the Community” (CIC) study, one of the longest-running of its kind, according to her obituary, published in the New York Times.
Cohen recruited the children in the early 1980s and started to chart their Mental Health. “At the time, psychiatrists knew little about when mental health problems emerge and how they evolve through development; diagnoses were snapshots in time, blurrier than they are today,” says Times writer Benedict Carey. Cohen revisited the children over the years to “assess their mental wellbeing as they grew into their 20s and 30s.”
Creating a framework
During her research Cohen found correlations between the level of discipline from parents and mental health. Kids who were punished more harshly had more mood problems later. Also, she found that mental health challenges could change over time in the same child. For instance, “the anxious, hyperactive 7-year-old could become a depressed, lethargic teenager,” says Carey.
resource: The New York Times