Girls and Their Monsters, Part 1


“The Genain quadruplets have really gone down in psychiatric history for being the ‘poster girls’ for psychiatric genetics.”

Who were the Genain quadruplets, and what was their contribution to psychiatric genetics? Psychiatric Times® Editorial Board Member Awais Aftab, MD, recently sat down with Audrey Clare Farley, PhD, to discuss Farley’s book, Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America.

In part 1 of their 3-part interview, Aftab and Farley discuss the lives of the Genain quadruplets and the research that was conducted on them by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health between the 1950s and 1990s.

The next installment of this interview will be available soon at

Dr Aftab is a psychiatrist in Cleveland, Ohio, and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University. He has been actively involved in initiatives to educate psychiatrists and trainees on the intersection of philosophy and psychiatry. He leads the interview series Conversations in Critical Psychiatry” for Psychiatric Times and he writes for his Substack newsletter “Psychiatry at the Margins.” He is also a member of the Psychiatric Times Editorial Board.

Dr Farley is a writer, editor, and scholar of 20th-century American culture with special interests in science and religion. She is the author of The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt and Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America, and her essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The New RepublicThe Washington Post, and many other outlets.

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