This volume is a major international compilation in the field of social psychiatry. Building upon the work of John Wing, director of the Social Psychiatry Unit of the Medical Research Council in Great Britain, these essays make up a series of variations on one of the basic themes of human existence - the interaction between people and their environment. The authors are concerned with social psychiatry; their attention is focused on those aspects of the environment that affect psychological states, whether of persons previously healthy or already suffering from some form of psychiatric illness or disability.Social relationships and psychiatric disturbances are murky ground for investigators, many of whom have become lost or returned with nothing but truisms or unvalidated assertions. In this collection, the editor has brought together leading international researchers in the field who combined a primary emphasis on theory and methodology with an equal regard for direct observation and practice and a scrupulous attention to detail. Insistence on the most accurate measurement possible is the natural consequence of an adherence to clear theoretical positions, which both informs and demands such an approach.This book springs from the work of the Medical Research Council's Social Psychiatric Unit, but because of the breadth of the Unit's concerns over the years, it is also a comprehensive work in the field of social psychiatry. It draws contributions from the leading international figures and will be a landmark work for professionals in social and clinical psychiatry, as well as for anyone with an interest in the social aspects of mental health.