A screening test for somatization disorder (hysteria)

Am J Psychiatry. 1985 Oct;142(10):1146-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.142.10.1146.


For the diagnosis of somatization disorder, DSM-III requires the assessment of 37 specific symptoms, a time-consuming and cumbersome task. The authors describe a procedure by which the clinician can assess the presence of somatization disorder by screening for only seven symptoms, three of which must be present for a preliminary diagnosis of somatization disorder. The test was developed on female psychiatric outpatients (N = 85) who had multiple unexplained physical complaints beginning before the age of 30 years; it was validated on an independent sample (N = 47). The accuracy of this screening procedure is 80%-90%.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychometrics
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology