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November 1960

Stress Response in a Group of Chronic Psychiatric Patients: Special Reference to the Use of Curare as a Stressful Stimulus

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital.
Fellow of The Foundations' Fund for Research in Psychiatry while participating in this study (Dr. Oken).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(5):451-466. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710050001001

I. Introduction  For a number of years we have conducted a series of investigations into the psychosomatic effects of a variety of reallife and experimentally induced psychological stresses in several subject groups. These studies have included chronically anxious neurotic patients, soldiers undergoing paratrooper training, and laboratory stimulated anxiety in healthy subjects and anxietyprone patients hospitalized for acute psychiatric illness. The present paper deals with the effects of an interview stress on a different subject population: patients who have settled into a pathological but relatively stable borderline state of chronic low-grade depression and marginal adjustment. We will describe the characteristic techniques such patients utilize for dealing with life stress and relate this to their concomitant affective, cardiovascular, and adrenocortical responses to the experimental stimuli.For the most part, this group of defeated and disconsolate individuals are considered to be generally unresponsive, unchangeable, and almost impervious