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The diagnostic meaning of "nervous breakdown" among lay populations


, : The diagnostic meaning of "nervous breakdown" among lay populations. Journal of Personality Assessment 71(2): 242-252

Two studies investigated the nature of nervous breakdown (NB): a mental illness commonly referred to by individuals not professionally related to the field of mental health. The clinical profile of NB was first surveyed among 121 undergraduates using a symptom checklist. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance indicated NB is a time-limited condition that presents with primarily anxious and depressed features, associated with a series of external precipitating stressors (e.g., interpersonal, employment, and financial losses). Dimensions significantly uncharacteristic of NB included psychoticism, somatization, phobic anxiety, and mania. These results were replicated in a community sample of 189 adults from urban and suburban areas of a large metropolitan city. Respondents held a relatively unitary view of NB: Combined-sample cluster analysis (N = 310) revealed 2 groups with similar symptom profiles that differed primarily with regard to level of distress associated with disorder. Thus, among this population, NB is not an amorphous term for generalized psychiatric disturbance.

US$19.90

PMID: 9857496

DOI: 10.1207/s15327752jpa7102_11


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