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August 8, 1959


Author Affiliations

Long Beach, Calif.

From the Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital Allergy Clinic and Allergy Research Laboratory.

JAMA. 1959;170(15):1764-1767. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010150008002

The validity of the hypothesis that asthma is a psychosomatic disease was tested in a study of 44 patients with bronchial asthma, 15 with allergic rhinitis, and 9 with pulmonary emphysema. All patients took the short form of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). When the asthmatics were classified as to the severity of their dyspnea, a correlation was found indicating that the scales for hypochondriasis, depression, and hysteria reflected some variable related to the functional classification of the asthma. No comparable correlation was found with the amount of medication taken by the patient or the duration of the asthma. Asthma could be called a psychosomatic disease, but the possibility that some of the scores in the MMPI may actually be a more direct measure of symptoms requires further investigation.