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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 2000 March;41(1):19-24

language: Italian

Evaluation of the intrapsychic and interpersonal modalities in infarcted patients

Vespa A.


Background. This study evaluates the intrapsychic and interpersonal processes of the personality structure of patients who have suffered heart attacks. Evaluation was considered necessary in order to understand both the difficulties of these patients in following medical prescriptions and their underlying intrapsychic problems.
Methods. We studied 60 heart attack patients, without other pathologies, aged between 35 and 79 years observed in our cardiology department. All the subjects were given the ASCI test (Structural Analysis of Interpersonal Behaviour), by P. Scilligo and L. S. Benjamin which describes the personality structure at an intrapsychic and interpersonal level. Factor Analysis was used.
Results. The results demonstrate that infarcted patients tend to oppress themselves with accusations accompanied by feelings of guilt, embarrassment and inadequacy. Uncertainty and guilt feelings can lead to choices which are recognized as neither positive nor useful for oneself. This kind of neglect towards oneself may lead subjects to ignore and not treat illnesses and wounds. Psychotherapeutic intervention must first consider the dimensions of acceptance and empathy by making the patient aware of the disadaptive aspects of his/her experience, not only to improve physical health but for overall well-being.
Conclusions. Identifying intrapsychic problems enhances understanding of heart attack patients' difficulties and makes it possible to concretely apply a multidisciplinary approach which helps the patient to adapt him/herself better to the disease.

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