Behavioural Theory of Conversion Disorder:
view conversion disorder as similar to malingering in that the person adopts the symptom to secure
Ulman and Krasner specify two conditions that increase the likelihood that motor and sensory
disabilities will be imitated.
First, the individual must have has some experience with the role to be adopted; he or she may
have had similar physical problems or may have observed them in others.
Second, he enactment of a role must be rewarded; an individual will assume a disability only if it
can be expected wither to reduce stress or to reap other positive consequences.
Social and Cultural Factors in Conversion Disorder:
There has been a decrease in the incidence of conversion disorder over the last century.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, repressive sexual attitudes may have contributed to the
increased prevalence of the disorder. The decrease in its incidence, then, may be attributed to a general
relaxing of sexual mores.
Conversion disorder is more common among people with lower socio-economic status and from rural
areas, who may be less knowledgeable about medical and psychological concepts.
Biological Factors In Conversion Disorder:
though genetic factors have been proposed as being important in the development of conversion
disorder, research does not support this proposal, according to twin studies. No co-twin has the same
diagnosis as his or her proband.
The majority of conversion symptoms may be related to the functioning of the right hemisphere.
Research has shown that the right hemisphere can generate emotions, and it is suspected of
generating more emotions, particularly unpleasant ones, than are generated by the left hemisphere.
Studies conducted thus far are limited in several respects:
- The use of small and heterogeneous samples (few participants)
- Differences in the duration of the deficit (chronic vs. acute)
- The possible confounding influences of co-morbid conditions such as depression and chronic