'Hysteria', 'functional' or 'psychogenic'? A survey of British neurologists' preferences

J R Soc Med. 1991 Aug;84(8):471-5.


The diagnostic preferences of British neurologists for patients who lack a physical explanation for their symptoms were assessed by means of a postal questionnaire. Analysis of 168 completed replies showed 'functional', 'psychogenic' and 'hysteria' to be the most popular terms in use. The number of different terms a clinician would use rose in line with the volume of such patients they encountered, but was unrelated to clinician factors such as the extent of their clinical experience in psychiatry. A specific enquiry into these respondents' interpretation of the term 'functional' revealed a clear consensus as to which syndromes it should apply to, although this consensus was not shared by a comparison group of psychiatrists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conversion Disorder / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Hysteria / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Terminology as Topic*