Temperament profiles and somatization--an epidemiological study of young adult people

J Psychosom Res. 2006 Dec;61(6):841-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.06.014.


Objective: We assessed the temperament profiles of young adult somatizers in an epidemiological setting. We hypothesized that somatizers would have a characteristic temperament profile.

Methods: The sample consisted of 984 subjects at the age of 31 years. Data on somatization were gathered from a review of all public health outpatient records. Subjects with four or more somatization symptoms according to the DSM-III-R criteria were classified as somatizers. Temperament profiles were assessed using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI).

Results: Six males (1.3%) and 61 females (11.5%) met our criteria for somatization. Harm avoidance and reward dependence of the TCI profiles were associated with somatization symptoms in the whole sample. In logistic regression analysis, sex and psychological distress were associated with somatization but not with temperament profiles.

Conclusion: We did not find a characteristic temperament profile for somatizers. This finding is in contrast to suggestions that somatization is associated with temperament profiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Reward
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology*
  • Temperament / physiology*