University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Medical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes


A longitudinal evaluation of the degree and type of psychological distress was carried out in 50 geriatric medical in‐patients, using the Symptom Distress Checklist. They were tested within three days of admission, after 12–15 days of hospital stay, and 20–30 days after discharge. The first two evaluations showed significantly higher distress than the third for almost all the subscales. Scores indicating a significant depressive distress decreased from 70 per cent (first evaluation) and 76 per cent (second evaluation) to 34 per cent at the third one. The number of patients with significant distress for the other SCL‐90 subscales was, at the third evaluation, rather low. Our data hence seem to show that the phenomenon of psychological distress in the hospital setting is transitory, and mainly arises from the factors of ‘disease’ and ‘hospitalization’. However, in the case of some particular aspects of psychological distress, such as depression, whilst most patients overcome it, one out of three still presents a significant degree of suffering after returning home. 1988 The British Psychological Society

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