Background. There is little research that examines demographic,
clinical and treatment factors
associated with changes in physical symptoms, psychiatric symptoms and
functional outcome in
patients with somatized depression or anxiety in primary care.
Method. Factors associated with the outcome of psychologized
somatized depression or anxiety
were derived from the literature. These factors were tested individually
their effects on changes
in physical symptoms, psychiatric symptoms and functional outcome between
with the general practitioner and 1 or 3 months later in 215 patients
with somatized depression or
anxiety. Individual factors associated with a particular outcome, demographic,
DSM-IV diagnosis and treatment variables were entered into a multiple regression
Results. Factors associated with a better outcome on all
three types of outcome measure were the
absence of generalized anxiety disorder and/or simple or social
phobias, absence of physical
pathology, and the prescription of fewer drugs, especially hypnotics or
addition, a better psychiatric symptom outcome was associated with the
satisfaction with the general practitioner's understanding or
explanation of the patient's problems.
A better functional outcome was associated with having a job, less
distress over physical symptoms,
not receiving invalidity benefit and no referral to hospital.
Conclusion. There are clinical and demographic factors associated
with all types of short-term
outcome in patients with somatized depression or anxiety but there
are additional factors that are
associated only with either psychiatric or functional outcome.