Effects of diphenylhydantoin on anxiety and hostility in institutionalized prisoners

Louis A. Gottschalk, Lino Covi, Regina Uliana, Daniel E. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


1. (1) In a double-blind, drug-placebo study, a group of 42 emotionally disturbed, male criminals incarcerated at a treatment center with an average age of 25 ± 6 and an average educational level of 8 ± 2, were randomly assigned for a 6-month period to 300 mg of diphenylhydantoin daily by mouth or to a placebo in the form of 24 mg of diphenylhydantoin daily. 2. (2) Five-minute tape-recorded speech samples, elicited by standardized instructions to "talk about any interesting or dramatic life experiences," were obtained before drug administration and for a 6-month period postdrug. The typescripts of these speech samples were blindly scored, by content analysis technicians unfamiliar with the purpose or nature of this study, for anxiety, total hostility outward, overt hostility outward, covert hostility outward, hostility inward, and ambivalent hostility according to the method of Gottschalk (Gottschalk and Gleser, 1969; Gottschalk et al., 1969). 3. (3) There were no significant differences between the drug and placebo groups in the magnitude of these anxiety or hostility scores over the 6-month period, as assessed by comparison of the slopes for all the affect scores overtime. 4. (4) These findings confirm the observations of several other investigators that diphenylhydantoin has a weak effect, if any, as an antianxiety or antihostility agent, even when administered over a 6-month period of time of a group of aggressive, antisocial, criminal offenders. 5. (5) The relationship and relevance of scores of psychological states derived from the content analysis of speech to manifest behavior is dicussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-511
Number of pages9
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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