Structural factor analyses for medically unexplained somatic symptoms of somatization disorder in the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background. Assess the latent structure of the DSM-III somatization symptoms and the stability of symptom patterns over time. Methods. Cross-sectional and longitudinal covariation of symptoms of somatization disorder were investigated using structural equation models in a population-based data set from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. Results. Medically unexplained physical complaints were discovered to cluster into three separate factors, consistent with the DSM-IV definition of somatization disorder, but one dominant general factor was defined, consistent with the DSM-III conceptualization. Individual symptom prevalences and factor structures were different for men and women. The factor structures remained stable at 1 year follow-up. Variations in the threshold of number of somatization symptoms required for diagnosis affected prevalence, sex ratio and temporal stability of the diagnosis. Conclusions. These population-based results support dimensional models of somatization. Implications for changing the threshold of the categorical diagnosis of somatization disorder and providing better care for these patients are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-626
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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