Date of Award

3-1959

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Gerald R. Pascal

Committee Members

William O. Jenkins, Clifford H. Swensen, Luke E. Ebersole, Madeline D. Kneberg

Abstract

The research about to be reported is part of a larger research program with duodenal ulcer patients carried out at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, under the direction of Drs. Gerald R. Pascal and William O. Jenkins of the University of Tennessee Psychology Department. This research program has attempted to bring a systematic, behaviorally-oriented approach to the problem of duodenal ulcer. The early work of Bergmann (3) has been followed by sufficient experimental research, notably that of Wolf and Wolff (28), Mittelmann and Wolff (16), Gantt (8) and Sawrey (24, 25), to make tentative the hypothesis that there is what may be called a psychogenic factor in the pathogenesis of duodenal ulcer. This hypothesis seems to have been commonly accepted into both medical and psychological thinking. Twenty-six years ago, in fact, Cushing observed that most medical men of that day recognized that "high strung" individuals were more susceptible to nervous indigestion and peptic ulcer, that the ulcer symptoms became quiescent or even tended to heal when the patients were put mentally and physically at rest, and that these symptoms tended to recur as soon as the patient resumed his former tasks and responsibilities (6). Despite its widespread acceptance, however, the precise relationship of this psychogenic factor to the physiology of duodenal ulcer has not been clearly understood, nor has this psychogenic factor itself been acceptably defined.

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