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Gastroenterology. 1986 Dec;91(6):1370-9.

Life events stress and psychosocial factors in men with peptic ulcer disease. A multidimensional case-controlled study.


We carried out a case-controlled study of multiple psychological and social factors in 49 men with complicated or uncomplicated peptic ulcer disease. Thirty-two men with renal stones or gallstones and 20 healthy men served as controls. Ulcer patients and controls experienced a similar number of potentially stressful life events. However, ulcer patients perceived their events more negatively (p less than 0.05). Ulcer patients also had significantly more personality disturbances than controls, although no one type of "ulcer personality" was found consistently. Some ulcer patients tended to be hypochondriacal complainers, overly pessimistic, and excessively dependent. Other personality disturbances were also more common in ulcer patients (e.g., immaturity, impulsivity, and feelings of social isolation and alienation). Ulcer patients had significantly lower ego strength and they had fewer friends and relatives whom they felt they could call upon in times of crisis. Finally, ulcer patients exhibited significantly more emotional distress in the form of depression and anxiety. Hypochondriasis, a negative perception of their life events, dependency, and lowered ego strength were the four variables that best discriminated ulcer patients from controls. This controlled study demonstrates a strong association between life events stress, psychosocial factors, and peptic ulcer disease.

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