Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Special Articles   |    
Somatization in cross-cultural perspective: a World Health Organization study in primary care
Am J Psychiatry 1997;154:989-995.
text A A A
PDF of the full text article.


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of somatization in different cultures by determining its frequency and correlates in primary care settings in 14 countries. METHOD: Consecutive primary care patients (N = 25,916) were screened with the 12-item General Health questionnaire, and a stratified sample (N = 5,438) was interviewed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Interviewed patients were also assessed for physical disease burden, self-rated overall health, physician-rated physical health status, number of disability days, and interviewer-rated occupational role functioning. The authors determined center-specific associations with the use of logistic regression analyses in which confounding variables were controlled. RESULTS: ICD-10 defined somatization disorder was relatively uncommon in most primary care settings. A less restrictively defined form was more common. Symptom rates were much higher in South American sites. There was a modest association with low education. Otherwise, frequency of unexplained somatic symptoms did not clearly vary according to geography or level of economic development. Somatizing patients were at elevated risk for self-reported disease burden, negative perception of their health, and comorbid depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Somatization was also commonly associated with disability. Cultures did not differ markedly in the pattern of these associated features. CONCLUSION: Somatization is a common problem in primary care across cultures and is associated with significant problems and disability.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Web of Science® Times Cited: 215

Related Content
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 2.  >
Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry > Chapter 64.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 36.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 19.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
PubMed Articles