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Social problems of a group of patients with psychogenic illness Zuckerberg, Asta

Abstract

The social problems of a group of fifty-three patients with psychogenic illness are analyzed and interpreted in this study. The patients were all those with at least one somatic complaint referred to the Social Service Department of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, during the period from October 1944 to July 1946. The patients were found to have two main types of problems, those associated with their environment, and those associated with their emotional condition. The environmental problems were those associated with employment, finances, war, school, immigration, housing, and miscellaneous conditions. The emotional problems were those associated with the patients' attitude to illness, relationships with other persons, with their own emotional development; with their feelings about matters pertaining to sex; and with a number of miscellaneous feelings. In all these groups, there were forty-six different problems studied. There was a total of 550 individual problems among all the patients, with an average of 10.57 problems per patient. Of these, 126 were environmental problems, with an average of 2.7 environmental problems per patient. The average number of emotional problems per patient was 7.3, with a total of 424 such problems. There were thirteen groups of problems among the environmental and emotional problems. The most frequent problems were those associated with illness. These were found in all patients. The next most frequent group was of problems associated with the patients' relationships with others, 98.11% of the patients having problems here. 88.68% of the patients had problems associated with their emotional development. 64.15% of the patients had problems associated with employment. The same number of patients had problems arising from their attitude to matters pertaining to sex. 43.39% of the patients had problems associated with finances; 30.19%, with war; 26.41%, with school; 26.41%, with immigration; 11.32%, with housing; 41.52%, with miscellaneous situations; and 35.81%, with miscellaneous feelings. The large numbers of problems among the patients emphasizes the need for medical casework treatment for hospital patients. A brief description of the nature of medical social work and of the setting in which these problems arose, is given. Descriptive and statistical material being summarized in 9 tables. Interpretation of social work and medical terminology is given whenever the meaning of these terms appeared obscure. An example of the type of social history, from which information for this study was obtained, and a table summarizing all the problems are given in the appendices. Reading material used in the study is listed in the bibliography.

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