Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Attitudes of British Psychiatrists to the Diagnosis of Somatisation Disorder: A Questionnaire Survey

  • Julian Stern (a1), Michael Murphy (a2) and Christopher Bass (a3)

Abstract

A postal questionnaire was sent to 195 senior British psychiatrists who were asked about their attitudes towards the DSM-III-R diagnosis of somatisation disorder (SD) and the ICD-10 diagnosis of multiple somatisation disorder. Of the 148 respondents, 98 (66%) had experience of liaison psychiatry, and these psychiatrists used the diagnosis significantly more often than those without liaison sessions. More than half the respondents perceived SD as both a personality disorder and a mental state disorder, although 27% thought that patients with SD had an undiagnosed physical disease. The marked discrepancy between British and North American psychiatrists in diagnostic practices was perceived to be a consequence of both the difference in health care systems and the interest shown in the disorder by North American psychiatrists, rather than a reflection of genuine differences in prevalence.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence

References

Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (1980) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edn) (DSM–III). Washington, DC: APA.
American Psychiatric Association (1987) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edn, revised) (DSM–III-R). Washington, DC: APA.
Bass, C. & Murphy, M.R. (1990) Somatization disorder: critique of the concept and suggestions for future research. In Somatization: Physical Symptoms and Psychological Illness (ed. Bass, C.), pp. 307332. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.
Bhatt, A., Tomenson, B. & Benjamin, S. (1989) Transcultural patterns of somatization in primary care: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 33, 671680.
Deighton, C. & Nicol, A. (1985) Abnormal illness behaviour in young women in a primary care setting: is Briquet's syndrome a useful category? Psychological Medicine, 15, 515520.
Escobar, J. (1987) Cross–cultural aspects of the somatization trait. Hospital Community Psychiatry, 38, 174180.
Guze, S.B. (1975) The validity and significance of the clinical diagnosis of hysteria (Briquet's syndrome). American Journal of Psychiatry, 132, 138141.
Jennett, B. (1986) High Technology Medicine: Benefits and Burdens (2nd edn). New York: Oxford University Press.
Murphy, M.R. (1990) Classification of the somatoform disorders. In Somatization: Physical Symptoms and Psychological Illness (ed. Bass, C.), pp. 1039. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.
Regier, D.A. & Robins, L.N. (1990) Psychiatric Disorders in America. New York: Free Press.
Robbins, J.M. & Kirmayer, L. (1991) Cognitive and social factors in somatization. In Current Concepts in Somatization, Research and Clinical Perspectives (eds Kirmayer, L. & Robins, J. M.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
Slater, E. (1965) Diagnosis of “hysteria”. British Medical Journal, i, 13951399.
Stern, J.M., Murphy, M.R. & Bass, C. (1992) Personality disorder and traits in patients with somatization disorder: a controlled study. (Submitted for publication.)
Schwartz, M., Hughes, D., Blazer, D., et al (1987) Somatization disorder in the community: a study of diagnostic concordance among three diagnostic systems. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 175, 2633.
Tarnopolsky, A. & Berelowitz, M. (1984) “Borderline personality”. Diagnostic attitudes at the Maudsley Hospital. British Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 364369.
Vaillant, G. (1984) The disadvantages of DSM–III outweigh its advantages. American Journal of Psychiatry, 141, 542545.
World Health Organization (1992) The ICD–10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Geneva: WHO.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Attitudes of British Psychiatrists to the Diagnosis of Somatisation Disorder: A Questionnaire Survey

  • Julian Stern (a1), Michael Murphy (a2) and Christopher Bass (a3)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *