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March 1953

PERSONALITY FACTORS IN DENIAL OF ILLNESS

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK

From the Neurological Service of the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and the Division of Neuropsychiatry, Army Medical Service Graduate School, Washington, D. C.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1953;69(3):355-367. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1953.02320270076008
Abstract

THE EXPLICIT verbal denial of illness or physical incapacity is not uncommon among patients with brain disease.1 A person not only may disclaim hemiplegia or blindness but may deny that he is ill in any way, attribute his hospitalization to some minor symptom, or state that his incapacity is due to some trivial cause, such as "laziness." In a study of 22 people with brain tumors,1a it was found not only that such disabilities as hemiplegia and blindness were explicitly denied, but that the patients also denied the existence of traumatic experiences, such as a craniotomy, such symptoms as sphincteric incontinence, evident pain, and vomiting, and certain felt inadequacies in their life situation. These phenomena could not be explained on the basis of any unitary defect caused by a lesion in any particular area of the brain. It was, rather, that brain disease had produced a reorganization of

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