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April 15, 1974

Psychosomatic Concepts

Author Affiliations

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY

JAMA. 1974;228(3):401. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230280101050

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Research in psychosomatic relationships has, in part, been impeded by a failure to test alternative hypotheses. This book is a reissue of one first published in 1953 under the title of Psychosomatic Research. In it Dr. Grinker, neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, proposed a multilevel, transactional model of the relationships of society to mind and body in health and illness. This model differed greatly from the late Dr. Franz Alexander's linear model that reigned at that time. Alexander, on the basis of clinical observation, had concluded that persons ill with a number of illnesses harbored certain psychological conflicts, residues of childhood, that sensitized them to certain characteristic life events. When these conflicts became activated, they were associated with certain feelings that were somehow transmuted into autonomic and hormonal changes to produce illness. He was thus addressing the question of why one person falls ill with one illness and not another at