Author: Peter H. Knapp
Observations bearing on the role of psychological factors in bronchial asthma have a long history. Hippocrates allegedly said “The asthmatic must guard against anger.” Distinguished clinicians in the 18th century contributed
anecdotal evidence about the role of emotions in precipitating or aggravating the disorder. As recently as 1971 a critical review of respiratory function in asthma remarked that “many asthmatic persons are somewhat unstable and
it is admitted that the course of the disease may be affected by emotional or environmental factors.” In the late 1930s, a group of psychiatric clinicians, most of them psychoanalytically inspired, along with physiologists and other
basic scientists, turned their attention to a group of chronic diseases of unknown etiology.