The association among childhood maltreatment, somatic symptom intensity, depression, and somatoform dissociative symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a single-center cohort study

J Trauma Dissociation. 2013;14(3):342-58. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2012.736930.


Research demonstrates strong associations between childhood maltreatment and health problems that include dissociative symptoms and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). We assessed the associations among childhood maltreatment, somatic symptom severity, depression, and somatoform dissociative symptoms in all consecutive adult FMS patients of a tertiary referral pain medicine center between January 2010 and December 2011. Childhood maltreatment was assessed with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, somatoform dissociative symptoms with the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire, somatic symptom severity with the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 and depression by the Patient Health Questionnaire-2. A total of 117 patients (84% women) were included in the analysis, of whom 20.5% reported severe emotional abuse, 8.6% severe physical abuse, 12.8% severe sexual abuse, 25.6% severe emotional neglect, and 12.0% severe physical neglect in childhood and adolescence. On average, patients reported high levels of somatoform dissociative symptoms and moderate levels of somatic symptom severity and depression. Somatoform dissociative symptoms and emotional abuse were moderately correlated (r = .32). In hierarchical regression analysis, gender (p = .01) and somatic symptom severity (p < .0001) but not childhood maltreatment and depression were significant predictors of somatoform dissociative symptoms. Reports of somatoform dissociative symptoms by FMS patients might be attributed to their tendency to report multiple somatic symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires