Carlos Morra and Ernst Franzek: Psychopathological Symptoms

Waxy Flexibility


Definition: Maintenance of imposed posture; limbs remain in position they are placed regardless of how unnatural the position is for a long time and not only for a few minutes (Petho and Ban 1989).


Exploration: The examiner raises the patient’s arms or moves one of the patient’s legs into an uncomfortable forced position. To qualify for “waxy flexibility” there need to be a decreasing passive resistance to moving the limbs into the unnatural position from the beginning to the end and the imposed posture needs to be maintained for a  long period of time and not only for minutes (Fink & Taylor 2003).




Fink M, Taylor MA. Catatonia. A clinician´s guide to diagnosis and treatment. Cambrige: Cambridge University Press; 2003, p. 29

Petho B, Ban TA. DCR Budapest-Nashville in the diagnosis and classification of functional psychoses. Psychopathology 1989; 21:153-240


Carlos Morra and Ernst Franzek

October 13, 2016