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Eisner, H. (1998). Croup, A Disorder of the Anal Phase of Development: A Contribution to Our Understanding of the Psychosexual Development of the Larynx. Psychoanal. St. Child, 53:233-253.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 53:233-253

Applied Psychoanalysis

Croup, A Disorder of the Anal Phase of Development: A Contribution to Our Understanding of the Psychosexual Development of the Larynx

Henry Eisner, M.D.

A brief history of croup is presented. The forms of croup under examination are defined with emotional factors at one end of a continuum and viral and traumatic factors at the other. The complexity of the disorder and its peculiar clinical characteristics are explained. Some of these characteristics are: (1) the predominant 1-3-year age range, which corresponds to the anal stage of development; (2) the relief afforded by vomiting; (3) the occurrence of attacks at night and during sleep, (4) the relative dryness of the cough and its harsh metallic quality; (5) the frequent presence of a ticklish, irritating sensation in the throat; and (6) the presence of edema and/or laryngospasm. Three case vignettes are presented. These cases support a previously developed theory concerning the impulses and defenses underlying the croup attack. Croup is seen as a fixation at the oral level with a regression to that level in the face of

conflicts of the anal or sometimes the oedipal stage. The psychosexual development of the larynx is discussed.

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