186 patients with periarthritis of the shoulder have been studied. The sex ratio was female:male, 1-52:1. The peak age of onset was 54-59 years in both sexes. Over 40% of the patients were referred to the clinic after 6 months had elapsed from the time of onset of the disease. The right shoulder was more frequently involved than the left, particularly in the men. One shoulder only was affected in 75% of patients. There was frequently a previous history of 'rheumatism' before the episode of periarthritis. In one-third of the women 'nonspecific rheumatism' had occurred. Cervicobrachial pain and a previous episode of shoulder pain had occurred more often in the women. There were a number of associated diseases, ischaemic heart disease, thyroid disease among women, diabetes among women, hemiplegia, pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, and epilepsy. Acute trauma was rarely a precipitating factor. Manual workers were more frequently seen than sedentary workers in the sample, and there were more in the sample than in the general population of Leeds. The general psychological background was no different from a control group. The Maudsley Personality Inventory gave no different results among patients with periarthritis of the shoulder than among a control group and among the general population. It is suggested that there is no evidence in this study for a 'periarthritic personality'. It is suggested that the cause of periarthritis of the shoulder is likely to be related to chronic trauma occurring in an age range when changes in connective tissue are occurring. Certain associated diseases may predispose the patient to this disorder.
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