Two distinct patterns of somatization were identified in 807 Swedish adopted men, using comprehensive lifetime psychiatric and sick‐leave records. “Diversiform” somatizers had a high frequency of brief sickness occasions for a wide diversity of complaints, particularly pain in the head, joints, and abdomen. “Asthenic” somatizers had a lower frequency and diversity of complaints. They recuperate more slowly, however, and were more often disabled by fatigue, weakness, and minor illnesses such as upper respiratory infections. Both types of somatizers had associated psychosocial maladjustment, but they had discrete clinical patterns, with infrequent overlap. Diversiform somatizers had a higher risk of alcohol abuse, psychiatric hospitalization, and substandard income than either asthenic somatizers or non‐somatizers. Asthenic somatizers had a higher risk of divorce than either diversiform somatizers or non‐somatizers. Men with prominent somatization had an excess of psychiatric treatment for alcoholism or anxiety disorders, but, unlike female somatizers, no excess of criminality. These clinical differences suggest that the psychiatric processes associated with somatization may be qualitatively different in men and women. The method used here is generally applicable in genetic epidemiology to identify natural clinical subtypes within a heterogeneous phenotype.
- admixture analysis
- discriminant analysis