Attributions of common somatic symptoms

Psychol Med. 1991 Nov;21(4):1029-45. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700030026.


Three studies explored the causal attributions of common somatic symptoms. The first two studies established the reliability and validity of a measure of attributional style, the Symptom Interpretation Questionnaire (SIQ). Three dimensions of causal attribution were confirmed: psychological, somatic and normalizing. The third study examined the antecedents and consequences of attributional style in a sample of family medicine patients. Medical and psychiatric history differentially influenced attributional style. Past history and attributional style independently influenced clinical presentations over the subsequent 6 months. Symptom attributional style may contribute to the somatization and psychologization of distress in primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Personality Development
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Sick Role*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*