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September 1953

Emotional Factors in Skin Diseases

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1953;68(3):362. doi:10.1001/archderm.1953.01540090124026

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To the dermatologist who is interested in the etiology of skin diseases this book will be a disappointment. The authors, a dermatologist and a psychiatrist, studied the personalities and emotional backgrounds of persons with seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, alopecia areata, rosacea, acne vulgaris, alopecia, a history of eczema in the family, and pruritis vulvae et ani. The end of each chapter includes a brief summary of the outstanding characteristics of the psychosomatic histories of the group studied.

The relationship between the psychosomatic states and the skin conditions as brought out in this book are not impressive. To this reviewer, the loose statements and the verbalism fail to establish an etiologic relationship between the skin lesions and the psychosomatic state. As an example, the authors say that "alopecia may have many causes: one of them which has been underated and imperfectly understood is the effect of emotional disturbances," and later that "only

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