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an oppressive mental disorder characterized by extreme indecisiveness and timidity and a tendency to fixed ideas. The disease was described in 1903 by the French physician P. Janet, who believed that the lowered capacity for perceiving reality characteristic of the disease results in constant doubt, vacillation, and concentration on imaginary dangers. According to I. P. Pavlov, psychasthenia is caused by the weakness of the subcortex and the first signaling system and the predominance of the second signaling system. The term “psychasthenia” is used in modern medicine to denote either some form of psychopathy or an obsessional neurosis in psychopathic personalities.

Psychasthenic individuals are noted for their anxiety, mistrust, shyness, and concern with details. Their initiative is low, although they have a strong sense of duty. They often have tormenting doubts regarding the correctness of their decisions and fear they will be unable to discharge their obligations. Their lack of self-confidence makes them repeatedly verify their actions; for example, a psychasthenic may repeatedly check whether he has turned off the gas or actually placed the letter into the mailbox. An imaginary danger is more frightening than a real one. The mental capacity of psychasthenics is not impaired and may be high; for example, pronounced symptoms of psychasthenia were observed in E. Zola at the height of his literary career.

Psychotherapy is the chief means of treating psychasthenia. Occupational therapy and psychotropic drugs are also used.


Gannushkin, P. B. Klinika psikhopatii: Ikh statika, dinamika, sistematika. Moscow, 1933.
Ozeretskovskii, D. S. Naviazchivye sostoianiia. Moscow, 1950.
Davidenkov, S. N. Nevrozy. Leningrad, 1963.
Kerbikov, O. V. “K ucheniiu o dinamike psikhopatii.” Izbr. trudy. Moscow, 1971. Pages 163–87.
Sviadoshch, A. M. Nevrozy i ikh lechenie, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Janet, P. Les Obsessions el la psychasthenie, 3rd ed, vols. 1–2. Paris,1911–19.


References in periodicals archive ?
* Mean (SD) 31.4 (4.6) 30.3 (4.2) 31.7 (4.5) -- MMPI Paranoia * Mean (SD) 11.8 (3.4) 10.3 (2.2) 14.3 (2.7) <0.01 MMPI psychasthenia * Mean (SD) 20.7 (8.3) 18.1 (8.6) 23.8 (7.1) <0.01 MMPI Schizophrenia * Mean (SD) 20.8 (10.4) 17.3 (9.7) 25.8 (10.5) <0.01 MMPI Hypomania * Mean (SD) 18.5 (4.3) 17.8 (4.4) 19.4 (4.2) -- MMPI social introver.
(51) Caillois and Shepley, 'Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia', pp.
Other headache forms, e.g., chronic daily headache, displayed higher score on psychasthenia (7), and medication-overuse headache was more frequently comorbid with the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (8).
The questionnaire was applied Minimult of Kincannon (1968) for the measurement of eight psychological profiles (Hysteria, Depression, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Psychasthenia, psychopathic deviation, Hypochondnasis and Hypomania).
Missionaries who achieved reliable change at post-treatment had pre-treatment scores that were higher for the Depression (D), Psychasthenia (Pt), Social Inhibition (Si) clinical scales, higher for the DEP anxiety (ANX), and Trt content scales, and lower for the Correction (K) validity scale and Ego Strength (Es) supplementary scale.
A sufferer of a mild form of scrupulosity himself, Janet interpreted scrupulosity as one manifestation of psychasthenia. According to him, the dominant symptom was a "feeling of inadequacy" or a "feeling of emptiness" which sprang from "a habit of inattention and vague preoccupation." (42)
Others have added Scale 7 (Psychasthenia) to the list of elevated scores (Nelson et al., 2003; Wilson et al., 1982).
For example, the typical profile of a borderline personality disorder client on the MMPI-2 includes elevated scores on Scale 8 (Schizophrenia), Scale 2 (Depression), Scale 4 (Psychopathic Deviate), and Scale 7 (Psychasthenia); (Bell-Pringle, Pate, & Brown, 1997).
The clinical scales are as follows: (a) the Hs or Hypochondriasis scale, (b) the D or Depression scale, (c) the Hy or Hysteria scale, (d) the Pd or Psychopathic Deviate scale, (e) the Mf or Masculinity-Femininity scale, (f) the Pa or Paranoia scale, (g) the Pt or Psychasthenia scale, (h) the Sc or Schizophrenia scale, (i) the Ma or Mania scale, and (j) the Si or Introversion-Extroversion scale.
Those included measures for psychasthenia and social introversion, as well scores from the Wiggins phobia scale and the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale.
Those included measures for psychasthenia and social introversion, as well as scores from the Wiggins phobia scale and the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale.
Psychological distress, as measured by MMPI-A scales measuring anxiety (Psychasthenia, Welsh's A, Anxiety content scale) and depression (Depression clinical scale and Depression content scale,), will be less in juveniles who go on to commit serious or violent offenses.