Background & aims: Psychosocial factors may influence both symptom generation and reporting in functional dyspepsia. We determined the presence and severity of these factors as well as their relationship to dyspeptic symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia and healthy subjects.
Methods: A total of 151 consecutive patients with functional dyspepsia referred chiefly from primary care clinics and 90 healthy subjects rated 15 dyspeptic symptoms. Participants completed the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 and Symptom Checklist-90-revised.
Results: Functional dyspepsia patients reported significantly higher symptom scores, poorer quality of life, and greater psychiatric distress than healthy subjects. For both patients and healthy subjects, increasing symptom scores were associated with significant decreases in the Physical but not the Mental Components Summary of the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36. Although functional dyspepsia patients showed significantly greater psychiatric distress than healthy subjects, symptoms were correlated only modestly with scores on the Symptom Checklist-90-revised. A number of symptoms showed significant but modest correlations ( r s < .30) with the somatization scale with chest burning correlating most strongly ( r s = .48). Chest burning also was correlated significantly with depression, anxiety, and phobic anxiety. Functional dyspepsia patients at a secondary level of care have greater symptom severity, poorer quality of life, and greater psychiatric distress than healthy subjects. Increasing symptom severity is associated with poorer quality of life primarily in the areas of physical and social functioning. With the exception of chest burning, symptoms are not correlated highly with psychiatric distress.
Conclusions: These data suggest that although functional dyspepsia patients experience increased psychiatric distress, symptom severity and psychiatric distress are not associated strongly.