Somatisation and illness behaviour

J Psychosom Res. 1989;33(2):147-53. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(89)90041-x.


Illness behaviour patterns were evaluated in 31 psychiatric patients, who had predominant somatic complaints to which there were no organic basis, using the Illness Behaviour Assessment Schedule. Psychiatric examination was also done and diagnosis given according to ICD-9. The relationship between abnormal illness behaviour and certain socio-demographic variables was examined. Younger patients more often had disease phobia (p = 0.05) and pre-occupation with disease (p = 0.003). Interesting trends were observed in different religious groups, as regards their beliefs about the 'cause' of somatic symptoms. Patients diagnosed as neurotic (anxiety or depression) significantly more often (p = 0.024) regarded their illnesses to be somatic in origin. The relationship between somatisation and abnormal illness behaviour is found to be complex, and the cause-effect relationship is not fully understood.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Sick Role*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*