IN SOCIAL psychiatry, epidemiological investigation relies on such techniques as surveys, clinical interviews, and data gathered from key sources other than the subjects. All these raw data must be processed in terms of categories or typologies so that significant associations among the variables can be identified. This part of the research constitutes an enormously time-consuming bottleneck through which virtually all the data must pass before any analytic steps can be undertaken.
After some years of preliminary work, a number of basic, interlinked studies were begun in "Stirling County," Nova Scotia, in order to uncover the frequency of psychiatric disorder and examine its relationship to sociocultural factors.1-3 In an effort to develop, test, and define social psychiatric theory, approximately 2,000 persons in this small town and rural area have been and are being evaluated.
Of prime importance in any research is the reliability of the evaluation procedure. In any instance