Medical Practice

Methodology of Research in Psychosomatic Medicine

Br Med J 1972; 4 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.4.5835.285 (Published 04 November 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;4:285
  1. R. C. B. Aitken

    Abstract

    This paper reviews some problems in the methodology of clinical psychosomatic research. Its emphasis is on elucidation of symptoms rather than on aetiology of disease and on diagnosis and treatment of known psychopathology, particularly mood disturbance, rather than on underlying speculative mechanisms. Reliability, sensitivity, and validity of measurements are considered to be the keys to advance of knowledge in this field. Samples of patients studied must be representative of a disease, and not of other factors which contribute bias to the observations. Account must be taken of the wide variability found in most measures required in psychosomatic patients, and hence of their lack of specificity to an individual patient.

    Footnotes

    • * Invited address to the 9th European Conference on Psychosomatic Research in Vienna delivered on 25 April 1972.

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