Dr. Alina Maria Zahorska Efron, 59, a former psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health, died of cancer Sunday at the Carriage Hill Nursing Home in Bethesda.

Dr. Efron was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, and received her medical education at the Medical Academy of the University of Warsaw, from which she graduated in 1946. She practiced in Poland and taught at the University of Warsaw until she came to the United States in 1958.

She lived first in Chicago, where she served as a physician in this country, and moved to this area in the early 1969s.

She trained in psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, to which she commuted from Washington, and in child psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She became an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown in 1971, and a year later joined the staff of the National Institute of Mental Health, where her late husband, Dr. Daniel H. Efron, was chief of pharmacology.

She stayed at both institutions until 1976, when illness forced her to retire.

Dr. Efron, who lived in Bethesda, was a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Washington Council of Child Psychiatry.

Survivors include a brother, Prof Witoold Zahorski, a physician in Katowice, Poland, and two cousins, Anna Janikowski, of Oak Park, III., and Krystna Moseicki, of Fairbury, III.