The association between family patterns and neurotic illness has been reported variously in India. Previous work from our centre seems to suggest that a joint family provides better support and security to vulnerable individuals. The present work is a community based project conducted in a selected rural and an urban area. The door to door survey by the research team identified index subjects who were screened for presence of psychotic illness before being included. Non psychotic psychiatric disorders were identified using the Cornell Medical Index and Khatri's scale was used for typing the family pattern. The social interaction schedule was the major instrument to quantify the type and duration of interaction, and life events were scaled using the modified Life Events inventory. Our results indicate that whereas the joint family system was prevalent in the rural areas, the major family constellation in the urban areas was nuclear. Though the primary group of the rural respondent was richer, the average member of the urban area spent mote time in interaction and thus utilized the support system better. The results are discussed for their relevance to the uiderstanding of the genesis of neurotic disorders. Of late, mental health practitioners have become increasingly interested in
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