Understanding Somatic Symptoms: A Mixed Method Investigation of Predictors and Experiences

Paker, Melisa Aşkım
The present study was a mixed design research aimed to investigate possible predictors of somatic symptoms and participants’ subjective conceptualization of those symptoms in non-patient population. For the quantitative part of the study, 326 participants aged between 19 and 65 were given Socioeconomic Status Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory, Emotional Non-Expressiveness Subscale for Type-C Behavior and IND-COL Scale. The association between age, socioeconomic status, emotional non-expressiveness, individualism, collectivism, depression, anxiety, phobic anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoid ideation, psychoticism and somatic symptoms were aimed to be estimated through multiple hierarchical regression analysis. The results showed that with the increased age somatic symptoms tended to increase. Additionally, collectivism was positively associated with increased somatic symptoms while the opposite was true for individualism. Obsessive-compulsiveness, anxiety and phobic anxiety were positively associated with somatic symptoms while socioeconomic status was negatively associated with somatic symptoms. In oder to understand subjective conceptualization of somatic symptoms, 10 participants who scored significantly higher in somatization subscale in Brief Symptom Inventory were interviewed. The interviews lasted between 35 and 55 minutes. Thematic analysis was run for the short interviews and three themes were emerged as somatic symptoms, perceived reasons of symptoms and coping with somatic symptoms. Regardless the differences in somatic symptoms, all participants mentioned that stress and thinking too much were the perceived reasons of somatic symptoms. Results were discussed in the scope of the literature and the strengths and limitations of the present study, the clinical implications, directions for future studies were also presented.


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Citation Formats
M. A. Paker, “Understanding Somatic Symptoms: A Mixed Method Investigation of Predictors and Experiences,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.