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Comparison of Samoans in Samoa and California

Joe Yamamoto, MD; Adele Satele, MSW; Lynn Fairbanks, PhD; Reupena Samuelu, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(2):231. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780270117017.
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To the Editor.—  Margaret Mead studied a group of teenaged Samoan girls and concluded that the Samoan lifestyle included early knowledge about sexual behavior, acceptance of masturbatory activity from the age of 5 or 6 years, and complete knowledge about bodily functions and left little possibility for neurotic problems.1

Method.—  We previously studied 100 Samoans in California with the SCL-90R,2 a self-completed 90-item symptom checklist, and scored the following items: (1) somatization, (2) obsessive-compulsive, (3) anxiety, (4) interpersonal sensitivity, (5) depression, (6) hostility, (7) phobic anxiety; (8) paranoid ideation, and (9) psychoticism. There are three general scales, as follows: the Global Severity Index, the Positive Symptom Distress Index, and the Positive Symptom Total.Compared with the scores of 1,000 normal Americans3. 4 the Samoans scored significantly higher on each and every scale. Fifty-seven percent of the males and 48% of the females had scores on one or


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