An accumulating body of evidence suggests that anosognosia has been artificially separated from the general concepts of psychological adaptation to illness.1-5 Psychodynamic approaches to denial of illness view it as a particularly dramatic instance of a premorbid defense mechanism. Its promotion to a distinct clinical entity can be attributed to the delusional, confabulatory severity of the phenomenon in the presence of altered cerebral function.1 The present report is an attempt to amplify this concept by assessing the role of interpersonal factors in the denial mechanism.
The study was stimulated by the observations of several investigators which point to the interpersonal, defensive quality of anosognosia. Legault,5 working in a psychotherapeutic setting, has noted the importance of denial for the relatives of the patient. Apparently, then, denial may be a group-adaptive phenomenon. Weinstein and Kahn1 have observed variation in the degree of denial in different interpersonal situations. They
JAFFE J, SLOTE WH. Interpersonal Factors in Denial of Illness. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(5):653–656. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340110123019
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.