The pursuit of illness for secondary gain

Health Care Superv. 1994 Sep;13(1):10-5.


Secondary gain is defined as the advantage that occurs secondary to stated or real illness. Transition into the sick role may have some incidental secondary gains for patients. Types of secondary gain include using illness for personal advantage, exaggerating symptoms, consciously using symptoms for gain, and unconsciously presenting symptoms with no physiological basis. These symptoms may contribute to the social breakdown syndrome and the patient's choice to remain in the sick role.

MeSH terms

  • Dependency, Psychological
  • Health Services Misuse*
  • Humans
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Alienation / prevention & control
  • Social Alienation / psychology*
  • United States