Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

William G. Kirk


The importance of emotional and physical factors in allergic disorders has become the focus of a body of literature (Wittkower & Engels, 1965). Some evidence suggests that allergic individuals possess certain maladaptive personality traits. Researchers have reported that allergic individuals are more neurotic than age-matched groups of normals (Dekker, Barendregt, & De Vries, 1961), and more aggressive than non allergic individuals (Alexander, 1952; Groen, 1950; Jares & Kerekjarto, 1967). Research also suggests that allergies are more sensitive, anxious and timid (Franks & Leigh, 1956), more hypochondriacal (Smith, 1962a), need more recognition (Rogerson, 1937), experienced more physiological and psychological stress (Sanger, 1970), suffer from maternal rejection (French & Alexander, 1941), are more unstable (Rees, 1963), and have more physiological deficiencies (Morris, 1971; Mathe 1971).

Thus the literature suggests a variety of a adjustments and personality characteristics have been found to pertain specifically to allergic individuals.

There is a body of literature suggesting that an individual's psychological needs are contingent upon one's physical status (Coleman, 1969). That is the more physically healthy an individual is the more one tends to seek to satisfy secondary or higher order needs such as belonging (affiliation), goals and love. Interestingly, the manifest needs of the allergic individual have never been assessed. The purpose of this study is to assess the manifest needs of a group of allergic individuals and compare these findings with a comparable group of non allergic individuals. Eighty subjects were divided into four groups: non allergic females, non allergic males, allergic females and allergic males. Criterion instruments were the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS). The testing lasted approximately 45 minutes. A major experimental hypothesis that predicted that differences exist between allergic and non allergic individuals was formulated and statistically tested. That hypothesis was not corrobated. No significant differences were found between the two groups on any of the 15 EPPS variables. Methodological limitations were noted and implications for further research discussed.