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April 1964

Physiological Responses in Anxious Women Patients: A Study of Autonomic Activity and Muscle Tension

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(4):382-388. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720220060010

It has been known for some time that chronically anxious individuals differ physiologically from people who normally function at lower levels of anxiety. Unfortunately, however, there is no single physiological pattern which has been consistently associated with anxiety. A major part of this dilemma is due to the fact that very few of the investigations attempting to find somatic correlates of anxiety are comparable. Very often they have been confined to a few measures of reactivity, which usually differ from one investigator to the next. It is not at all uncommon to find studies where one or two autonomic variables were used to represent the entire autonomic nervous system (ANS). Even more rare are those investigations where the ANS and the skeletal muscular systems were studied simultaneously. An additional problem in comparing the results of anxiety research has to do with variability in stimulus conditions.