Invention, production or falsification of physical and psychological symptoms, are the core traits of Factitious Disorder. The aim is to assume a patient role.
The etiology of Factitious Disorder is unknown, but cognitive-behavioural and psychoanalytic hypothesis have been formulated.
Cognitive-Behavioural theories consider that the Factitious Disorder is related to the learning of illness behaviour with its positive and negative reinforcements. Therefore, past medical history in childhood or medical illness in relatives are risk factors for the development for Factitious Disorder.
A Case-Control study was carried out to test this hypothesis. Patients with the diagnosis of Factitious Disorder with Psychological symptoms in a Psychiatric Inpatients Unit were included. We analyze medical history in childhood, age at the first admission in hospital, consequences derived of the patient role during this admission, and age and consequences of the first somatic and psychiatric severe episode in adult age.
Data obtained in our study show that patients with Factitious Disorder with psychological symptoms have a higher proportion of illness in childhood and higher percentage of admissions. In addition, hospital admissions take place in the late childhood, when is possible to be conscious of the consequences of the illness.
These results confirm that learning influences the pathogenesis of Factitious Disorder with psychological symptoms.