Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 1975-1979

Jill Kemp, Alyssa Lehmann, & Anne Sleath
Department of Psychology
Simon Fraser University

From the outsider perspective of an historian, we have noticed some interesting trends in the 5-year period from 1975 through 1979.

The psychologists of the time were very much involved in the testing of people and testing their methods (methodology). Because this is a behavioural journal, many of the articles relate to behaviour. It would appear that there was just one study in 1975 looking at methodology while subsequent years show an average of approximately 6 studies. The studies testing people showed a consistent pattern of psychologists' activity covering a range of topics such as intelligence, language, behaviour, perception, anxiety and learning.

We see a trend away from family environment towards the community by the focus of studies involving daycare and working mothers. There was a hint of emerging interest in valuing children as evidenced by the October 1978 study 'Respecting Children: Moral reasoning when right conduct joins punishing outcomes'. We infer from this a possible future interest in parenting behaviour.

Over the 5-year period, we also noted that there were only 4 studies looking at the separate issues of genetic and environmental influences. We decided to look at early childhood and adolescent studies separately. Under adolescence, the emphasis was in the two areas of achievement and gender. In addition, there were two studies on drug use in adolescents and 2 studies looking at juvenile delinquency recidivism.

There was only one study that looked at legal issues of the mentally ill in 1975 that referred to "dangerous mentally disordered offenders". One other study in 1977 investigated hostility in men found "not guilty by reason of insanity".

Concerning drug abuse, we note in 1975 that there was one study that looked at attitudes towards smoking pot, while, in 1977, there was some interest in the community approach towards alcohol abuse. We only found one preventative self-management programme and this was in 1978 for alcohol abuse.

On therapeutic intervention, interest was in token economy, phobias, feedback modification, and biofeedback. We noted only one study was done on therapy for child molesters in 1975 and one mention of encounter group therapy in 1976. It is interesting to note that studies looking at behavioural therapies rapidly declined from 6 in 1975 to none in 1978/79 with the last two studies focusing on human cognition.

We noticed at least one study each year looked at the individual's control over their outcomes, as opposed to forces beyond their control. These studies had an emphasis on failure. The last study in 1979 looked at learned helplessness.

There were several studies conducted on intelligence in 1975, but the interest dropped off by 1978. We found several studies on culture and cross-cultural issues, which we broke down into, culture in general, the English/French debate and Native concerns. The general cultural issues (9) focused on cross-cultural psychology. Of those, 2 studies were concerned with Canadian national identity, and one study looked at language in isolated communities (Labrador). In 1978, Ottawa evaluated the French immersion programmes. The English/French studies (10) covered issues concerning language and business. Only one study was conducted in 1975 on communication about separatism. Studies on Natives (5) looked at intelligence, education and racial awareness.

Business-oriented studies initially looked at advertising and sales techniques, social behaviour, and sublimation. The only study done in 1979 considered compliance and foot-in-the-door techniques.

Over the 5 year period, we found single studies on such topics as adult deaf, humour, uncertainty in decision-making, religion, sex and the disabled, pain, personality, attitudes towards homosexuality, male sexual anomaly, feminism and perceived attractiveness, obesity in women. A single study on stress was noted in 1979 which looked at social support. From 1975 to 1979, there was sporadic interest in mental disorders. 3 out of 7 studies focused on schizophrenia; another on Down's Syndrome, one was on institutional behaviours, one on labelling the mentally ill and another on aftercare and recidivism.

Until 1979, we noticed that there were only a few studies that looked specifically at the two independent areas of women's issues and homosexuality.

During this period there was only one mention of a study concerning the disabled.

There were 18 studies written in French during the period of 1977/79, which we were unable to categorize.