Description and type: unwillingness to speak up in class. Digressive/repressive or digressive/rebellious disorder.

Symptoms and signs: resists all reasonable attempts to encourage (even to require) class participation. Symptoms suggest passive resistance to class material, but may in some cases indicate passivity without underlying rebellious resistance.

Etiology: basic rebelliousness molded into passive aggression by parents unwilling to encourage vivacious academic performance in their children. Some observers have suggested that silence might in certain cases be motivated by fear, but this is unlikely; what, after all, does the conscientious student have to fear from the professor? Digressive/repressive silence stems from primary narcissism exacerbated by insufficient regimentation by parents and teachers.

Treatment: talkalin (Chatter-On).

Prognosis: fairly good, but not without extended pharmaceutical treatment. Silence is easily treated in the short run, but extremely resistant in the long run; most silent students relapse quickly when taken off the drug.

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Copyright 1992 by Doug Robinson and Bill Kaul