The Relationship of Personality to the Presence of Rheumatoid Factor in Asymptomatic Relatives of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
GEORGE F. SOLOMON, M.D., and RUDOLF H. MOOS, PH.D.
Two groups of asymptomatic female relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis were compared psychologically by means of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. The results indicated a greaterincidence of emotional decompensation in those relatives lacking rheumatoid factor. It is speculated that emotional disturbance in conjunction with rheumatoid factor may lead to rheumatoid disease.
xVs Moos HAS POINTED OUT,1 the retro-
spective correlation of personality patterns or emotional conflicts with an organic disease inevitably leads to questions of whether the illness, especially when achronic one, might induce personality change; whether the observed factors might only reflect what the
patient says about himself in test or interview, thus possibly representing only a change in response tendency; and, of course, whether such personality characteristics are "specific" to the disease in question. Other considerations limiting the applicability of results of studies ofpersonality factors associated with psychosomatic disorders have been: (1) From tin: Department of Psychiatry, Stan- gross lack of information about patient ford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, characteristics, (2) considerably differCalif. Supported in part by grants from the North- ing methods and theoretical orientations ern California Chapter of the Arthritis and among studies, (3) almostuniversal lack Rheumatism Foundation and the National of adequate control groups, and (4) Foundation. The work was carried out in con- gross over-emphasis of "negative" perjunction with family studies by the Rheumatic sonality evaluations. Disease Group, University of California MediProvided that there is an awareness of cal Center, San Francisco. We are greatly indebted to Dr. Ephraim P. Kngleman,who made pertinent variables, a clear definition of the subjects available, to Dr. Wallace V. Ep- theoretical assumptions, and careful constein, in whose laboratory the serological deter- trols, many of the aforementioned diffiminations were performed, and to Mrs. Eleanor Vaughn, who was of great help throughout the culties can be best overcome by predictive studies to determine in what sortsstudy. of individuals and/or in the context of Received for publication Oct. 27, 1964.
SOLOMON & MOOS
what situations psychosomatic disease ensues. Another prospective approach is to attempt to correlate personality variables with a physiologic variable that is predictive of, rather than indicative of, disease. We have been concerned with the problem of personal and social factorsin relation to the onset and course of rheumatoid arthritis. In the study reported here we attempted to correlate personality characteristics with the presence or rheumatoid factor,* also referred to as "FII," in asymptomatic female relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Although the issue remains controversial, Lawrence2 has stated that current evidence makes it appear that the presenceof rheumatoid factor in the serum may predispose a person to arthritis. Thus, any emotional correlates of this serologic abnormality may have predictive significance. Predictive studies have been carried out in certain other illnesses for which "psychosomatic" pathogenic mechanisms have been postulated. Lebovits and coworkers* administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) toa large group of middleaged men; 5 years later they retested 75 of these men in whom coronary heart disease had developed and 75 matched healthy men. They found that differences between original and new MMPI scores (as a result of increases in "neuroticism") were greater in those who suffered myocardial infarction than in healthy men or those with angina pectoris only. Although retrospective...
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