A validation study of the Whitely Index, the Illness Attitude Scales, and the Somatosensory Amplification Scale in general medical and general practice patients

J Psychosom Res. 1996 Jan;40(1):95-104. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(95)00561-7.


The aim of this study was to assess the reliability and validity of the Whitely Index (WI), the Illness Attitude Scales (IAS), and the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SAS). The study population consisted of 130 general medical outpatients, 113 general practice patients, and 204 subjects from the general population. The factorial structure of the IAS appeared to consist of two subscales, namely Health Anxiety and Illness Behaviour. The internal consistency and stability of the three questionnaires were satisfactory, and their scores were highly intercorrelated. Scores on the WI and Health Anxiety subscale of the IAS declined significantly from general medical outpatients, through general practice patients to subjects from the general population. This might imply that medical care utilisation is related to hypochondriasis. A prospective study is needed to determine whether health anxiety contributes to the decision to seek medical care or the consultation of a general practitioner or consultant gives rise to worry about possible illness.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies