Somatic complaints in the German population

J Psychosom Res. 1995 Oct;39(7):809-17. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(94)00151-0.


The Freiburg Complaint List (Freiburger Beschwerdenliste FBL-R) is a self-report questionnaire which consists of 80 somatic complaints. A survey was conducted in 1993 and a sample of N = 2070, representative for the German adult population of 16 years and above, was obtained. Factor analysis, cluster analysis and item analysis were employed to develop nine scales: General Condition, Tiredness, Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Head-Throat, Tenseness, Emotional Reactivity, Pain, Sensory and Total Score. Regression analyses revealed substantial effects of gender, age group, and, to a lesser extent, social class on FBL-R scores. Furthermore, highly significant correlations were found between FBL-R scores and indicators of illness, health concern, and utilization of health services. The standardization provides normative data (stanine norms) that account for gender and age groups. This representative survey provides essential data, i.e. base rates of somatic complaints in the general population and subsamples. These base rates are relevant to the future development of criteria for diagnosis of somatization disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotherapy
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy