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Ideas and Opinions |

Precursors of Premature Disease and Death: The Predictive Potential of Habits and Family Attitudes

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Grant support: National Institute of Mental Health Grant 1R01-MH-18819.

Presented in part at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Symposium on Habitat, 23 through 24 February 1976, Boston, Massachusetts.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Caroline Bedell Thomas, M.D.; 725 N. Wolfe St.; Baltimore, MD 21205.

Baltimore, Maryland

Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(5):653-658. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-85-5-653
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The youthful habits and family attitudes of medical students who later developed or died from one of five disease states were different from those of healthy classmate controls to begin with. In medical school, the total disorder group had significantly more nervous tension, anxiety, and anger under stress, had more insomnia, smoked more cigarettes, and took alcoholic drinks more frequently. Individual disorder group means were significantly different from each other. The mental illness group showed the most nervous tension, depression, and anger under stress and the malignant tumor group the least. The malignant tumor group resembled the healthy control group in these respects. The suicide, mental illness, and malignant tumor groups had low mean scores for closeness to parents, while the hypertension and coronary occlusion group means were slightly higher than the control group mean. Thus psychologic differences in youth have predictive potential in regard to premature disease and death.


attitude ; habits





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