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October 25, 1952


Author Affiliations

Iowa City
From the Department of Internal Medicine of the State University of Iowa College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1952;150(8):776-780. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680080038009

The current interest in so-called "psychosomatic medicine" has evoked many diverse responses from the general medical public. As with any new, or supposedly new, concept, there has been an initial wave of overenthusiasm opposed by a reef of rigid skepticism. The future may possibly reveal the truth to lie somewhere between these conflicting views. At present, however, there persists in many quarters much confusion regarding the incidence, mechanisms, diagnosis, and management of psychosomatic problems. In this presentation the prevailing opinion on these features will be briefly considered and various suggestions offered that may have practical value for the nonpsychiatrically trained physician.

The actual incidence of ill health brought about wholly or in part by psychological factors is unknown. An approximation may be obtained, however, from the data presented in the following table. These analyses were made by several sets of observers on unselected medical patients of varying socioeconomic background. The