Harvard Department Of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School


The Study of Adult Development1

Division of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital

George E. Vaillant, M.D..,;Vaillant, George E.,, Xing-jia Cui, M.D.,Cui, Xing-jia, Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.Soldz, Stephen,


This longitudinal study of adult development involves prospective studies of 268 Harvard College sophomores and 456 inner-city Boston school boys each of which have lasted for half a century with minimal attrition. Data for each subject consists of 4 generation social histories, biennial questionnaires, face to face interviews every fifteen years, and complete physical examinations every five years. Research has focused upon (1) adaptation to stress, mental health, and defense mechanisms; (20 the effects of habits (especially alcoholism) and affective disorders upon physical health and mortality; (3) the effect of childhood risk factors upon adult adaptation; (4) the unfolding of adult development; and (5) the natural history of alcohol and substance abuse. Other ongoing projects that have evolved from these longitudinal archives include long-term outcome studies of World War II PTSD, effects of attributional style on physical health, and successful adult careers by the mildly retarded.

Grant Support. NIMH MH42248 and NIMH KO5-MH00364.

Project Site. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Project Director. George E. Vaillant, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, 221 Longwood Avenue (Third Floor), Boston, MA 02115. Tel.: (617) 732-5501.

Training Opportunities. Restricted to post-doctoral fellows.

Representative Publications.

Vaillant GE. Adaptation to Life. Little Brown, 1977.

Vaillant GE. Natural History of Alcoholism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Vaillant GE. The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. Washington: American Psychiatric Press, 1992.

Vaillant GE. Wisdom of the Ego. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Department Of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School - 2 West - Room 305 - 401 Park Drive - Boston, MA 02215