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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 March;40(1):31-4

language: Italian

Illness behaviour and psychopathological aspects of oral cancer

Nigro G., Bocca M., Martino C., Pomatto E., Saini P., Angelini G.


Background. Aim of the work is to evaluate the presence and the variation of psychopathological symptoms and the characteristics of illness behaviour, the mechanisms of adaptation to an illness, using the definition of I. Piloswsky.
Methods. Design: a group of 28 consecutive patients with oral cancer was evaluated before and after surgery. They were all inpatients of the UOADU of Odontology of the ASL SS. Giovanni Battista - Le Molinette, Torino. Measu-res: The STAI-X 1-2 for state and trait anxiety, The Illness Behaviour Questionnaire and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were used to evaluate depressive symptoms.
Results. After surgery, in the illness behaviour it was observed a reduction of factors directly dependent from the presence of an illness: hypochondriasis, disease conviction, and irritability. There isn't a modification in psychological versus somatic focusing, affective inhibition, affective disturbance and there is more denial of personal problems not directly linked with the illness. In presurgery group state anxiety is correlated with illness behaviour (depression p<0.04, hypochondriasis p<0.007 and Denial p<0.014). In post- surgery group, trait anxiety is linked with illness behaviour (hypochondriasis p<0.013, Affective hinibition p<0.015, disease conviction p<0.05)
Conclusions. The Illness causes a stable mutation in the psychic life of the patient. This result enhances the need of a supportive liaison psychiatry service, which support the patient during the harder phases of therapy.

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