Attitudes of neuroscience nurses toward patients with conversion symptoms

Psychosomatics. 2009 Jul-Aug;50(4):336-9. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.50.4.336.


Background: Patients with conversion symptoms on neurology wards often report negative interactions with nursing staff.

Objective/method: The authors therefore systematically studied, by means of an anonymous questionnaire, the attitudes of neuroscience nurses (N=68) toward these patients.

Results: Negative attitudes were common: 16% disagreed that conversion symptoms were "real;" 46% thought the patients were "manipulative;" and 34% disagreed that neurology was "an appropriate place" for these patients. Levels of self-perceived knowledge were low.

Conclusion: These negative attitudes toward patients are likely to impair effective management. Illness beliefs of patients with conversion symptoms need to be understood in the context of the beliefs of the health professionals looking after them.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Conversion Disorder / nursing*
  • Conversion Disorder / psychology
  • Humans
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires