Symptom patterns and causes of somatization in men: I. Differentiation of two discrete disorders

Soren Sigvardsson, Michael Bohman, Anne‐Liis ‐L von Knorring, C. Robert Cloninger, P. M. Conneally

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-169
    Number of pages17
    JournalGenetic Epidemiology
    Volume3
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1986

    Keywords

    • admixture analysis
    • anxiety
    • discriminant analysis
    • somatization
    • taxonomy

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    Sigvardsson, S., Bohman, M., von Knorring, AL. L., Cloninger, C. R., & Conneally, P. M. (1986). Symptom patterns and causes of somatization in men: I. Differentiation of two discrete disorders. Genetic Epidemiology, 3(3), 153-169. https://doi.org/10.1002/gepi.1370030303