Somatization in family practice: a biopsychosocial approach

J Fam Pract. 1982 Mar;14(3):493-502.


The family physician sees many patients who present physical symptoms that have primarily an emotional or psychosocial basis. This paper defines the concept of somatization, reviews its prevalence and consequences, and develops a conceptual model of somatization that includes cultural, childhood, psychological, and environmental factors. Physicians and the medical care system play a significant role in reinforcing somatization by patients. A biopsychosocial approach to the clinical assessment, diagnosis, and management of these patients is presented along with case examples that exemplify the utility of this approach.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Culture
  • Family
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology