A Model of People at High Risk to Develop Chronic Stress Related Symptoms

  • Ian Wickramasekera


Sir William Osler is reported to have said that “sometimes it is more important to know what kind of patient has a disease than what kind of disease the patient has”. One implication of this statement is that certain types of personality features can potentiate or attenuate either the symptoms or the etiology of a disease, or both. The first goal of this paper is to start to specify a promising set of personality features and also a set of situational events under which people who are either biologically prone to a disease or exposed to the relevant pathogens will become symptomatic. The second goal of this paper is to tentatively suggest some procedures to quantify these personality dimensions and these situational conditions. The third goal is to present evidence from my clinical practice and the research literature to support this model of the patient at high risk to develop chronic stress related illness. The present model (Wickramasekera, 1979, 1980a;1980b) is based on clinical observations made, and case study data collected, over the last 15 years in an increasingly specialized clinical practice.


Coping Skill American Psychological Association Daily Hassle Major Life Event Psychosomatic Illness 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Wickramasekera
    • 1
  1. 1.Eastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA

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