A prospective psychological evaluation of patients with dysphagia of various etiologies

Chung H. Kim, Joseph J. Hsu, Donald E. Williams, Amy L. Weaver, Alan R. Zinsmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that patients who complain of dysphagia without demonstrable organic abnormality may have an underlying psychological dysfunction. We thus conducted a comprehensive assessment in three groups of patients with dysphagia. Dysphagia was classified as obstructive (Obst) when an obstructive lesion was present on esophagoscopy or barium swallow, motility-related (Mot) when abnormal motility was shown on esophageal manometry in the presence of normal esophagoscopy or barium swallow, or nonobstructive, nonmotility-related (NONM) when manometry and esophagoscopy or barium swallow were both normal. We prospectively evaluated 71 patients with Obst-dysphagia, 15 patients with Mot-dysphagia and 10 patients with NONM-dysphagia with a battery of standardized psychological tests including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI). The results indicate that patients with NONM-dysphagia have psychological attributes similar to those found in patients with Obst-dysphagia or Motdysphagia. Combination of scores for parameters such as somatization, depression, and anxiety could not distinguish among the three groups of dysphagia patients. We thus conclude that patients with NONM-dysphagia, as a group, have similar psychological profiles compared to patients with dysphagia due to organic causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1996


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Psychological testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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