October 1966

Family Research on the Problem of Ulcerative Colitis

Author Affiliations

From the Mental Research Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(4):410-418. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730160074011

CHRONIC ulcerative colitis is an enigma today, despite many years of study and voluminous publications by persons of diverse interests and backgrounds. As Lepore stated in 1965: ". . . its etiology remains unknown and its treatment unscientific."1 Since Murray's paper in 1930,2 which noted the connection between emotional factors and both mucus colitis and ulcerative colitis, there have been many inquiries into the psychological functioning of ulcerative colitis patients. In general, there has been agreement that ulcerative colitis patients usually suffer from serious psychological illness. Descriptions of personality organization in such patients, based on psychological testing or therapy observations, include the whole panoply of our nosological types. Frequently mentioned characteristics are: obsessive-compulsive character traits, narcissism, a marked pseudomature veneer covering a deeper petulant infantilism, rigidity, and guarded affectivity, underlying depressive trends, and psychosexual immaturity. Patients often exercise marked denial and have difficulty in effec

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