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The South London Somatisation Study: I: Longitudinal Course and the Influence of Early Life Experiences

  • T. K. J. Craig (a1), A. P. Boardman (a2), K. Mills (a3), O. Daly-Jones (a3) and H. Drake (a3)...

Abstract

In a two-year longitudinal study, a two-stage screening procedure was used to identify subjects in primary care with emotional disorder presenting with a recent onset of physical symptoms and a comparison sample of patients presenting with physical symptoms only. Somatisers (n = 44) were defined as subjects who had an emotional disorder but who presented with physical symptoms that could not be attributed to organic disease. The course and outcome of these conditions were compared with those of pure emotional disorder (n = 11), pure physical disorder (n = 90) and ‘mixed’ conditions (n = 39). The physical symptoms of somatisers were less likely to improve and lagged behind those of the other groups, and 16 of these acute somatisers went on to develop chronic somatoform disorders. Among somatisers, changes in physical symptom levels throughout the follow-up closely mirrored changes in emotional arousal. Emotionally disordered subjects reported more instances of parental lack of care, but somatisers were also more likely than other groups to report parental physical illness and to have had more physical illness themselves in childhood. A logistic regression suggests that adult somatisation is best modelled by parental lack of care followed by childhood illness.

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The South London Somatisation Study: I: Longitudinal Course and the Influence of Early Life Experiences

  • T. K. J. Craig (a1), A. P. Boardman (a2), K. Mills (a3), O. Daly-Jones (a3) and H. Drake (a3)...

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The South London Somatisation Study: I: Longitudinal Course and the Influence of Early Life Experiences

  • T. K. J. Craig (a1), A. P. Boardman (a2), K. Mills (a3), O. Daly-Jones (a3) and H. Drake (a3)...
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