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May 1986

Hypochondriacal Fears and Beliefs in Medical and Law Students

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Kellner and Wiggins) and Family and Community Medicine (Dr Pathak), School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(5):487-489. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800050093012

• We administered two validated scales of hypochondriacal concerns (the Illness Behavior Questionnaire and the Illness Attitude Scales) to 60 medical students and matched law students. Medical students took more precautions about their health and attended more to somatic symptoms, but the prevalence of hypochondriacal fears, beliefs, and attitudes did not differ significantly between the two groups. Five students (8.3%) in each group scored in the range of patients with hypochondriacal neurosis. Most of the students were free of these concerns. The prevalence of hypochondriacal concerns in medical students was substantially lower than the previously reported incidence over four years of study; this supports the previous observation that most of these reactions are short lived.

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