A Social-Psychological Theory of Collective Anxiety Attacks: The “Mad Gasser” Reexamined

  title={A Social-Psychological Theory of Collective Anxiety Attacks: The “Mad Gasser” Reexamined},
  author={Robert E Bartholomew and Jeffrey S. Victor},
  journal={The Sociological Quarterly},
  pages={229 - 248}
This article presents a social-psychological theory to explain collective behavior involving unusual somatic reactions. The authors term this social phenomenon a “collective anxiety attack,” to distinguish it from the psychiatric label of “mass psychogenic illness.” First, the article contrasts fundamental assumptions of a psychiatric-medical interpretation with a social-psychological interpretation. Next, the article illustrates the difference using a reinterpretation of and new data about the… 

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