Somatosensory amplification as a possible source of subjective symptoms behind modern health worries

Scand J Psychol. 2011 Apr;52(2):174-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2010.00846.x. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


The theoretically hypothesized connection between modern health worries (MHWs) and somatosensory amplification (SSA), as well as the factor structure of the Hungarian version of the MHW scale were investigated in a cross-sectional questionnaire study. A total of 163 university students (mean age = 21.3± 2.70 yrs; 44.2% male) and 145 patients (mean age = 49.4±17.51 yrs; 31.7% male) visiting their general practitioners (GPs) completed questionnaires assessing MHWs, SSA, subjective somatic symptoms (PHQ-15), and trait anxiety (STAI-T). The previously described four-factor structure of the MHW scale was confirmed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In the linear regression analysis, participants' age and SSA scores were positively related to MHWs even after controlling for gender, anxiety, and subjective somatic symptom scores. The conclusions are that: MHWs are indicators of cognitive, behavioral and social level of sensitization for health-related concerns; SSA can provide the somatic background process for generation and/or misattribution of subjective somatic symptoms; better understanding of the cognitive-emotional background of MHWs could help to determine possible interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires