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October 1965

Separation Anxiety: A Factor in the Object Relations of Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

Research Psychiatrist, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;13(4):346-358. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01730040056009

SEPARATION anxiety refers to the signal of danger and reaction of distress upon isolation or separation from a needed person. This concept has been used mainly to describe the reactions of children upon separation from their mothers, as in the writings of Spitz, Bowlby, Benjamin,14,4,2 and others. However, separation anxiety is by no means limited to Child-mother relationships, but may be observed in a variety of other contexts. In this paper I wish to focus upon its significance in the object relations of schizophrenic patients. At first glance many schizophrenic persons might be assumed to be relatively devoid of this type of anxiety. They are withdrawn, selfabsorbed, and narcissistic, with little apparent interest in object relations. However, this facade of indifference to others frequently conceals and defends against deep and pervasive anxiety of which separation anxiety is a large part. It is a major

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