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January 18, 1971

HysteriaStudies of Diagnosis, Outcome, and Prevalence

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

JAMA. 1971;215(3):425-428. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180160025006

The results of a number of recent studies of hysteria are summarized. There is evidence that hysteria, defined by objective criteria, is a syndrome distinct from other psychiatric syndromes, distinct from medical illness in which there are multiple complaints, and distinct from cases in which conversion symptoms occur in relative isolation. The central clinical feature of hysteria is an array of complaints spread throughout the sympton review. This concept of hysteria has been useful as an instrument of research; in addition, it serves as an important aid to the process of decision making for a group of patients whose management is difficult.