Precursors of premature disease and death: Habits of nervous tension

C. B. Thomas, O. L. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Patterns of habits of nervous tension (HNT) recorded by medical students who later developed cancer, coronary occlusion, hypertension, or mental illness, or who committed suicide, were compared with those of students who remained healthy 15 to 30 years later. Data came from the 25-item HNT Questionnaire previously reported. Unpaired t tests and two-group discriminant function analyses were the chief statistical methods used. Compared with those of the healthy group, the overal HNT patterns were significantly different for the cancer, coronary occlusion, mental illness and suicide groups. The overall pattern for the hypertension group did not reach significance. It therefore appears that youthful reactions to stress as self-reported in a checklist of habits of nervous tension reflect individual psychobiological differences that are linked with future health or disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJohns Hopkins Medical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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