Gender and symptoms in primary care practices

Psychosomatics. Sep-Oct 2003;44(5):359-66. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.44.5.359.


The authors sought to explore gender differences among patients with physical symptoms who came to see internists. The women were younger, more likely to report stress, endorsed more "other, currently bothersome" symptoms, were more likely to have a mental disorder, and were less likely to be satisfied with their care. The men were slower to improve, but there was no difference between the sexes after 3 months. There were no differences in the number, type, duration, or severity of symptoms or in the expectation of care, costs of visits, intervention received, use of health care services, or likelihood of being considered difficult by their physician. The gender of the clinician had no effect on any outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Sex Factors
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy