Albee was born in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, he attended Bethany College and graduated in 1943. He was drafted into the Army Air Force until the end of World War II.
After leaving the forces he attended the University of Pittsburgh where he attained his Masters and Doctorate degrees. Having received his doctorate in 1949 he spent the next two years in a research appointment at Western Psychiatric Institute, later working for the APA as assistant executive secretary.
In 1953 Albee went to Finland for a year as a Fulbright scholar, before returning to the USA to become a Professor at Case Western Reserve University, a post he held for 16 years. In 1971 Albee left Case Western for a position at the University of Vermont. He remained here until his retirement in 1991. During that time, he married Constance Impallaria, and had four children: Alec, Luke, Maud and Sarah. Albee was president of the American Psychological Association for 1969-1970.
During his career Albee was the author of groundbreaking studies in the 50's and 60's, that showed societal factors such as poverty, racism, sexism and
, were to a large degree responsible for mental illness. He believed the
needed to focus more on prevention, rather than one to one treatment.
After his retirement Albee spent time traveling around the world giving lectures on psychology. He also found time to write a humor column for his local newspaper the Longboat Observer. He was the author of more than 200 articles and book chapters on community approaches to mental illness, as well as writing more than a dozen books.
- Served on Eisenhower's and Carter's Presidential Commissions on mental health.
- From 1969 – 1970 Albee was the President of the American Psychological Association (APA)
- 1973 received the APA Distinguished Professional Contribution Award.
- 1993 awarded the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal.
- 1997 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Applied Preventive Psychology.
George Albee was not Supportive of the Medical Model,
but Emphasized Social Issues as the Cause for Mental Health Disorders
Albee was not in support of the widespread us of
psychiatric medications, during a time period when the practice of using psychiatric medication was just becoming widely popular in the 1960s. The use of medication for psychiatric illness only began to be used widely in
psychiatric hospitals in the late 1950s and became popular in the 1960s.
only came to be widely used for children around the beginning of the 1970s. Albee believed that especially in the case of
, psychiatric medication was inappropriate and
inadvisable. See Sharna Olfman
While Albee stressed social causes for mental health disorders, later researches provide evidence that there are multi-causal factors involved in the development of even serious mental health disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Both biological, psychological, and sociocultural causal factors are most likely involved. Lifestyles also affect the development of mental health disorders.
Some of the factors contributing to the development of mental health disorders are controllable. Awareness of all factors involved with the development and the prevention of mental health disorders, can contribute to better treatment, self-help and education on this subject.
Interview with George Albee (1999):
Q: Tell us a little about prevention and what it means for us.
A: Prevention is the act of stopping or hindering something from happening. True primary prevention deals with people who show no overt signs of having a disorder. You look for people who are high risk, and you do things in advance in order to reduce the probability tat they will develop a particular disorder. It is very similar to immunizations.
I am ordered because of my age to get a flu shot every fall. It is not because I have any symptoms of the flu, but because I am in a high risk group. People who are in high risk groups are the targets.
For remainder of Interview see: Brown University - George Albee Interview
References for George Albee, PhD page:
Copac National, Academic, and Specialist Library Catalogue
George W. Albee, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Vermont.
American Psychological Association
Photo: George Albee
, courtesy of University of Vermont, Psychology Department. http://www.uvm.edu/~galbee/index.html
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