Post-traumatic stress disorder and somatization symptoms: A prospective study

Patricia Andreski, Howard Chilcoat, Naomi Breslau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to determine whether persons with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for somatization symptoms. Using the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule, 1007 21- 30-year-old members of a large health maintenance organization in south-east Michigan were interviewed initially in 1989, with follow-up interviews conducted in 1992 and 1994. Prevalence of somatization syndrome and number of somatization symptoms in the 5-year follow-up period were compared in relation to PTSD status at baseline, using logistic regression. History of PTSD was associated with significantly more symptoms in each of the somatic symptom groups, except pain. In addition, persons with PTSD were more likely to report each of the symptoms of somatization, compared to those with other psychiatric disorders. Prospectively, baseline history of PTSD signaled an increased risk of pain (OR = 2.1) and conversion symptoms (OR = 2.3) in the follow-up interval, relative to those with no disorder. PTSD increased the risk of somatization symptoms beyond that expected by the presence of comorbid psychiatric disorders. The excess of somatization symptoms in persons with history of PTSD might be attributable to PTSD per se, or to the greater severity of the associated comorbidity, compared to persons with disorders other than PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • PTSD
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)


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