Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: La belle indifférence refers to an apparent lack of concern shown by some patients towards their symptoms. It is often regarded as typical of conversion symptoms/hysteria. AIMS: To determine the frequency of la belle indifférence in studies of patients with conversion symptoms/hysteria and to determine whether it discriminates between conversion symptoms and symptoms attributable to organic disease. METHOD: A systematic review of all studies published since 1965 that have reported rates of la belle indifférence in patients with conversion symptoms and/or patients with organic disease. RESULTS: A total of 11 studies were eligible for inclusion. The median frequency of la belle indifférence was 21% (range 0-54%) in 356 patients with conversion symptoms, and 29% (range 0-60%) in 157 patients with organic disease. CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence does not support the use of la belle indifférence to discriminate between conversion symptoms and symptoms of organic disease. The quality of the published studies is poor, with a lack off operational definitions and masked ratings. La belle indifférence should be abandoned as a clinical sign until both its definition and its utility have been clarified.

Original publication

DOI

10.1192/bjp.188.3.204

Type

Journal article

Journal

Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date

03/2006

Volume

188

Pages

204 - 209

Keywords

Attitude to Health, Conversion Disorder, Diagnosis, Differential, Humans, Hysteria, Nervous System Diseases, Psychophysiologic Disorders, Terminology as Topic