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April 1972

Conversion Hysteria: A Post-Freudian Reinterpretation of 19th Century Psychosocial Data

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(4):311-314. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750220021003

The data for this study were derived from sections or chapters on hysteria in 24 19th-century books on gynecology. Although the authors of these works regarded hysteria as a disease and thought in terms of an organic etiology, they cited many observations, their own and those of their predecessors, bearing on the influence of psychosocial factors. These data have been used in this report to support a post-freudian thesis for the etiology of hysteria, namely, that it is a nonverbal or pantomime response occurring when more direct forms of expression are blocked.

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