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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 35 (1993) 5

New research

Posttraumatic symptoms in the belles-lettres: can fiction be scientific?

R.A. Jongedijk

In this article the criteria of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to DSM-III-R are illustrated by a number of literary quotations. It is demonstrated that literary authors can give excellent descriptions of PTSD-symptoms. Therefore reading fiction can be more than reading `for fun or for literary values. Reading fiction can also be seen as an addition to reading scientific literature. Belles-lettres can give illustrations of psychopathologic phenomena and thus can give greater understanding of both theoretical concepts and of patients.