Hypochondriacal traits in medical inpatients

P. Alex Mabe, Douglas P. Hobson, L. Ralph Jones, Reynolds G. Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Hypochondriacal traits were examined in 100 general medical inpatients, and correlates of these traits were examined from four perspectives: (1) emotional distress; (2) affective inhibition; (3) learned social behavior; and (4) symptom misinterpretation. In contrast to previous studies of hypochondriasis in general medical populations, this study examined patients' illness perceptions and presentation in relationship to objective health status as assessed by their treating physicians. Data concerning the illness being treated and associated illness behavior were obtained from patients and their treating physicians. Results suggested that hypochondriacal traits of "disease phobia", disease conviction, bodily preoccupation, perceptions that one's illness is more severe than the physician's assessment, and illness presentation disproportionate to demonstrable organic disease were quite prevalent. On multiple regression analyses, correlates pertaining to emotional distress appear to be preeminent in the prediction of hypochondriacal traits. However, variables pertaining to learned social behavior also provided further understanding of hypochondriacal traits in medical inpatients beyond that explained by emotional distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-244
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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