Developing a screening index for community studies of somatization disorder

J Psychiatr Res. 1986;20(4):335-43. doi: 10.1016/0022-3956(86)90036-1.


Despite the low prevalence of somatization disorder in the community, the section of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule used to make the diagnosis--as well as previous diagnostic interviews for the related diagnoses of hysteria, and Briquet's syndrome--is quite lengthy. This study evaluates a somatization disorder screening index derived from completed interviews from the NIMH sponsored Epidemiologic Catchment Area program. A screening index comprised of 11 symptoms of somatization was derived at the Duke ECA site and replicated across the Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Washington University sites. Across ECA sites a screening threshold of five of 11 symptoms correctly identified 41 of 42 respondents with DIS/DSM-III somatization disorder (97.6%) while correctly classifying 14,600 of 14,750 (99.0%) without the disorder. The screening index offers promise as a screening device for clinical and community studies of somatization disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Mass Screening
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*