Standard Article


  1. Seymour Feshbach

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0158

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Feshbach, S. 2010. Catharsis. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of California, Los Angeles

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The concept of catharsis is the source of considerable controversy in the psychological literature. From the standpoint of mental health and social adjustment, cathartic procedures have been shown to have negligible or destructive effects while there is also evidence attesting to their psychological utility. Although the controversy and conflicting claims cannot be fully resolved, much of the difference in judgment regarding the utility of catharsis is due to the different meanings and mechanisms ascribed to catharsis.


  • catharsis;
  • television;
  • aggression;
  • abreaction