To investigate the direction of a possible relationship between peptic ulcer disease and personality disorders.
A cohort study of 50-year old patients, observed for 2 decades.
Glostrup County, Denmark (population 100000).
A representative sample of 50-year old people born in 1914 (n = 673) were followed for 20 years. All 673 filled in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) in 1964 and 513 were retested with MMPI in 1974.
Prevalence of peptic ulcer disease 1964, incidence of peptic ulcer disease 1964-84, MMPI scores.
The prevalence of peptic ulcer disease in 1964 was 7% and the average annual incidence in the period 1964-84 was 2.1 per 1000 persons. Those with incidental peptic ulcer in 1964-84 had normal MMPI scores in 1964, whilst those with peptic ulcer in 1964 had a slight but statistically significant increase in one neuroticism scale (HS) only. The group with prevalent ulcer disease in 1974 exhibited statistically significant increases in the three neuroticism scales (HS, D, HY) and in scale Pd and scale Pt at MMPI retesting. In addition they had statistically significantly higher scores in the three neuroticism scales compared with the other persons who still had normal scores in all scales.
Personality disorders in patients with peptic ulcer are consequences of the disease and not causal factors.