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March 1954

CHRONIC ANXIETY SYMPTOMATOLOGY, EXPERIMENTAL STRESS, AND HCL SECRETION

Author Affiliations

NEW HAVEN, CONN.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(3):314-325. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320390044004
Abstract

PREVIOUS experiments demonstrated significant increases in HCl secretion during experimentally produced chronic fear in dogs and monkeys * and during sustained "examination-period anxiety" in undergraduate students.11 Indices of the HCl secretion of a chronically anxious patient were higher during five very anxious psychoanalytic hours than during five relatively nonanxious hours.13 Other investigators, largely in studies of single subjects, have reported similar results.† Evaluation of those studies reporting a negative ‡ or a variable relationship17 between HCl secretion and anxiety is hindered by a lack of either adequate experimental controls or sufficient data. These studies have been discussed in more detail elsewhere. § The primary interest of this report is the implication of these results for the unqualified use of Cannon's3 emergency theory of emotions as a basic concept in psychosomatic theory.

The apparently consistent finding of increased HCl secretion during sustained anxiety in controlled experiments is just

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