The University of Texas Medical School at Houston Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Our faculty and staff are in the forefront of the exploration of the causes and treatments of mental illness.

John E. Overall, Ph.D.



Looking backward in time, it might be considered that I haven’t traveled very far in my career. Born in Texas in an historic town called Gonzales on the banks of a river called Guadalupe, educated in Texas public schools, B.S. degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, two years military at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, and Ph.D. in General Experimental Psychology from  University of Texas in Austin. During last two years as graduate student, I worked as research psychologist with the behavioral medicine group of the UT/ USAF Radiobiological Laboratory at Balcones Research Center near Austin. From there, I took a combined 5-year “sabbatical” from Texas, which included National Science Foundation fellowship in psychometrics and multivariate methodology at L.L.Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory of University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 2 years as Chief of Criterion Development for V.A. Central Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory, and 2 years as Associate Professor of Psychology at Kansas State University where I was recipient of NIMH Research Career Development Award. Returned to Texas in 1963 as Director of the UTMB Research Computation Center and Associate Professor in what was then the combined Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at the U.T. Medical Branch in Galveston; promoted to Professor with tenure in about 1967; and transferred at same rank and title to Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science of U.T. Houston Medical School in 1978, where I remain today.

         Concurrent with the above academic appointments, I served a combined 17+ years in appointments to various regular NIMH, VA, and FDA standing research review and advisory committees, and an additional 8 years on special planning, advisory, or oversight committees for federally-sponsored  programs or research  centers located around the country. Closer to home, I served on various medical school and departmental committees, including total of 8 years on the medical school Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure Committee (FAPT committee) and 4 or 5 years as member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the medical school Clinical Research Center. Within the department, my longest continuous service was as chairman of the departmental Promotions Committee. Beginning during my time at UTMB in Galveston and continuing here in Houston, my methodological research and research-support activities were funded, in part, by a single RO1 individual research grant, continuously renewed for 30 consecutive years with only the grant I.D. number changed when I transferred from Galveston to Houston. I am Fellow (Emeritus) of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP).      

         Over the past 5 years, I have progressively reduced official time at the university with an increasingly part-time faculty appointment, which reduction in responsibility has the aim of justifying concentration on the methodological work for which I am best prepared by training, motivation, and experience. In the face of an onslaught of mathematically-complex statistical modeling procedures being promoted by mathematical statisticians and commercial software interests, I remain today involved in use of simulation methods to document the utility of simpler approaches to analysis of data from controlled longitudinal studies conducted by applied clinical researchers with whom I have primary identification.

            From a list of approximately 350 refereed publications and 50 invited chapters and published symposium volumes, I have here attempted to select examples to illustrate different areas of concentration pursued over the course of my 50+ years of association with the University of Texas System of Higher Education.

Publications (selected):

Learning Theory and Decision-Making

            Recency, Frequency, and Probability in Response Prediction. (Overall, J.E. and Brown, W.L., Psychological Review, 1957, 65, 314-323) .

            A Comparison of Decision Behavior of Rats and Human Subjects. (Overall, J.E. and Brown, W.L., American Journal of Psychology, 1959, 72, 258-261).

             A Cognitive Probability Model for Learning. (Overall, J.E., Psychometrica, 1960, 25, 159-172).

Cognitive and Behavioral Effects of Ionizing Radiation

              Changes in the Shuttle-Box Behavior of Albino Rats During Exposure to 1r Per Minute X-Radiation. (Overall, J.E., Logie, L.C. and Brown, W.L., Radiation Research, 1959, 11, 589-599).

               Lever-Pressing Behavior of Albino Rats During Prolonged Exposure to X-Radiation. (Brown, W.L., Overall, J.E., Logie, L.C. and Wicker, J.E., Radiation Research, 1960, 13, 617-631).

               Differential Effects of Ionizing Radiation on “Absolute” and  “Relational” Learning in Rhesus Monkeys. (Overall, J.E., Brown, W.L. and Gentry, G.V., Journal of General Psychology, 1960, 97, 245-250).   

Assessment and Measurement of Treatment Response in Psychiatric Research:

            The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). (Overall, J.E. and Gorham, D.R., Psychological Reports, 1962, 10, 799-812). Over 2000 citations in world literature.

             The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children, (Overall, J.E. and  Pfefferbaum, B., Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 1982, 18, 10-16).

            The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) in Geropsychiatric Research. (Overall, J.E. and Beller, S.A., Journal of Gerontology, 1984, 39, 187-193).  

Multivariate Statistical Methodology:

          The Powered Vector Method of Factor Analysis. (Overall, J.E., and Porterfield, J. Psychometrika, 1963, 28, 415-422.         

            Applied Multivariate Analysis, (Overall,J.E. and Klett,C.J., New York:McGraw-Hill, 1972.

           Marker Variable Factor Analysis: A Regional Principle Axes Solution. (Overall,J.E., Multivariate Behavioral Research, 1974, 9, 149-164).

Design of Experiments and Sample Size Issues

            Design of Experiments to Maximize Power Relative to Cost, (Overall, J.E. and Dalal, S.N., Psychological Bulletin, 1965, 64, 339-350).

            Sample Size Requirements for Psychiatric Research Involving One or Two Raters, (Overall, J.E., Hollister, L.E. and Dalal, S.N., Archives of General Psychiatry, 1967, 16, 146-151).

             Sample Size Required to Observe at Least k Rare Events.(Overall, J.E., Psychological Reports, 1967, 21, 70-72).    

Categorical Data and Associated Tests of Significance

           Continuity Correction for Fisher’s Exact Probability Test. (Overall,  J.E., Journal of Educational Statistics, 1980, 5, 177-190).

            F-test Alternatives to Fisher’s Exact Test and to the Chi-square Test  of Homogeniety in 2x2 Tables. (Overall, J.E. and Starbuck, R.R., Journal of Educational Statistics, 1983, 8 , 50-58).

            Small Sample Tests for Heterogeneity of Response Probabilities in  2x2 Contingency Tables. (Overall, J.E., Rhoades, H.M. and Starbuck, R.R.,  Psychological Bulletin, 1987, 102, 307-314). 

Combining Results from Several Independent Studies (Including first use of meta analysis to summarize results from multiple studies for FDA consideration)

            Interpreting the Significance of Several Independently Executed Drug Studies, (Overall,J.E., In: Evaluation of New Drugs in Clinical Psychopharmacology;  Bertelli, Cassano, Castrogiovanni, Levine and Whittenborn, Eds. Barcelona: J.R. Prous, 1977). 


            The Significance of Treatment Effects Across Several Independent Studies. (Overall, J.E. and Rhoades, H.M., Journal of Psychiatric Research,  1981, 16, 241-257).

 Controversial Issues in Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for Unbalanced Designs

              Concerning Least Squares Analysis of Experimental Data, (Overall,  J.E. and Spiegel, D.K., Psychological Bulletin, 1969, 72, 311-322).

               Comments on Rawling’s Nonorthogonal Analysis of Variance. (Overall, J.E. and Spiegel, D.K., Psychological Bulletin, 1973, 79, 164-167.

                Equivalence of Orthogonal and Nonorthogonal ANOVA. (Overall, J.E., Spiegel, D.K. and Cohen, J., Psychological Bulletin, 1975, 82, 182-186.

                A Comparison of Two Strategies for Analysis of Variance in Nonorthogonal Designs. (Overall, J.E., Lee, D, and Hornick, C.W., Psychological Bulletin, 1981, 90, 367-375).

Controversial Issues in the Measurement of Change

                Unreliability of Difference Scores: A Paradox for Measurement of Change. (Overall, J.E. and Woodward, J.A., Psychological Bulletin, 1975, 82, 85-86).

                  Statistical Efficiencies the FDA Should Encourage. (Overall, J.E., Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 1991, 27, 211-216).

                 Measuring Change in Controlled Longitudinal Studies, (Overall, J.E. and Tonidandel, S., British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 2000, 10, 265-286).

Dealing with Dropouts in the Analysis of Data from Controlled Clinical Trials

                Dropouts and a random regression model, (Overall, J.E. , Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, 1997, 7, 383-402).

                Testing Differences in Response Trends Across a Normalized Time Domain. (Overall, J.E. and Shivakumar,C., Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1999, 55, 1-11.  

                Problematic Formulations of SAS PROC.MIXED Models for  Repeated Measurements, (Overall, J.E., Ahn, C., Shivakumar, C., and Kalburgi, Y., Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, 1999, 9, 189-216).    

International Collaboration

                International Comparison of Diagnostic Patterns, (Englesmann, F. , Pichot, P., Rossi. R., Hippius, H. and Overall, J.E., Transcultural Psychiatic Research, 1970, 7, 130-137).

                 Phenomenological Classification of Psychiatric Patients: Consistency of Syndrome Interpretation by Psychiatrists in Italy, France, Mexico and the United States. (Overall, J.E. , Pull, C., Carranza J. and Cassano, G., Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1977, 13 169-177).


                  Assessing Behavioral Changes in Antidementia Therapy: Perspectives of an International ADL Project. (Erzigkeit, H., Overall, J.E.,  Stemmler, M., Steinwachs, K.C. and Hulla, F.W.,In: Aging, Health and Healing, M. Bergner, J. Brocklehurst, and S. Finkel (Eds.), New York: Springer, 1995).


Faculty Biography

  • John E. Overall
  • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • University of Texas-Houston Medical School
    1941 East Road
    Houston, Texas 77054
  • phone: (713) 486-2564
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