Is an organic functional distinction psychologically meaningful in patients with dysphonia?

A Millar, I J Deary, J A Wilson, K MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Dysphonia (hoarseness) is a common clinical condition and, if persistent, patients are referred to otolaryngology clinics for clinical examination. During the examination, a clinical distinction is often made among three types of patients: (1) those with a clear organic basis for dysphonia (cancer, vocal cord palsy); (2) those with some degree of organic pathology; and (3) those with an apparently functional etiology. Functional patients are often characterized as having a psychogenic disorder. This study assessed the psychological validity of the functional category in 204 out-patients (aged 17 to 87 years) with persistent hoarseness of types (2) and (3). Following clinical examination, a consultant otolaryngologist categorized patients as having functional or organic etiology. Subjects were then compared on measures of personality and psychological distress. Dysphonic subjects showed marked psychological distress compared with norms, and reported significantly more previous psychosomatic symptoms than norms, but there were no differences in personality or psychological distress between organic and functional subgroups of dysphonics. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-505
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • dysphonia
  • personality
  • psychological distress
  • functional somatic
  • symptoms


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