Somatization in the community: relationship to disability and use of services

Am J Public Health. 1987 Jul;77(7):837-40. doi: 10.2105/ajph.77.7.837.


We tested the hypotheses that an abridged somatization construct that we had developed would be associated with use of health services, preferential use of medical over mental health services, and an index of disability. These hypotheses were tested using structured interview data from 3,132 randomly selected community respondents. We found that: respondents meeting criteria for somatization reported a heavier use of health services than non-somatizers; of those respondents meeting criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, somatizers preferentially used medical over mental health services whereas non-somatizers reported the opposite trend; and somatizers were more likely than non-somatizers to report recent sick leave or restricted activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Somatoform Disorders*
  • Whites