Functional somatic symptoms: A cross-ethnic comparison

Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.36). 11/1992; 62(4):605-12. DOI: 10.1037/h0079376
Source: PubMed


Type, distribution, and comorbidity of functional somatic symptoms were examined in four community samples, three Hispanic and one non-Hispanic white. Important intergroup and intragroup differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white groups were identified. Of the four groups, Puerto Rican respondents reported the highest level of somatic symptoms; this finding was apparently independent of sociodemographic factors.

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    • "In general, our findings confirm the higher risk of somatization in South Americans previously found in a smaller sample (Aragona et al. 2005). The outcome is also consistent with previous studies reporting higher somatization rates among Hispanics in the USA (Canino et al. 1992, Hulme 1996) and in native South American primary care patients (Gureje et al. 1997). However, the finding that the risk of somatization in Africans and South Americans was not significantly different is not consistent with previous surveys. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aim. To study somatization in a large sample of immigrants attending a first visit to a primary care service. Differences in somatization among four large immigrant groups (Europeans, Asians, South Americans, and Africans) and 16 subgroups based on nationality were assessed. Design. A total of 3105 patients were asked to participate in the study, of whom 3051 completed the 21-item version of the Bradford Somatic Inventory (BSI-21). Patients scoring 14 or higher on the BSI-21 were considered to be somatizers. A multiple logistic regression analysis adjusting for intervening variables tested the relative risk of somatization in and among the groups. Results. Among the 3051 patients who completed the BSI-21, 782 (25.6%) were somatizers. Somatizers were significantly more prevalent among South Americans (30.1%). After adjusting for covariates, Asians and Europeans, but not Africans, showed a significantly lower risk of somatization compared to South Americans. Among national subgroups, somatization occurred more frequently in Peruvians (32.9%). Compared to Peruvians, migrants from Eastern Europe, Morocco, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and El Salvador demonstrated a significantly lower risk of somatization. Conclusions. Approximately one-fourth of socially disadvantaged immigrants who accessed primary care services used somatization to express their distress. However, the likelihood of somatization varied widely among the different groups, and was significantly higher in South Americans and in some African groups, and lower in some Asian groups.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Ethnicity and Health
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    • "Thus, somatization may be an especially salient display of anxiety symptomatology in Latino youth, potentially making it an important component of the assessment of anxiety symptoms. Early research on adults provided evidence that Latinos report more somatic symptoms than other ethnic groups (Canino, Bird, Shrout, & Rubio-Stipec, 1987;Canino, Rubio-Stipec, Canino, & Escobar, 1992;Escobar, Gomez, & Tuason, 1983;Kolody, Vega, Meinhardt, & Bensussen, 1986;Mezzich & Raab, 1980). More recently, several authors have examined somatic symptoms as a culturally-anchored manifestation of anxiety in Latino youth (McLaughlin et al., 2007;PiñaPi˜Piña & Silverman, 2004;Varela et al., 2008Varela et al., , 2004Varela, Weems, Berman, Hensley, & Rodriguez de Bernal, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is emerging evidence that Latino youth report higher levels of anxiety symptoms than children from other ethnic groups. Although often implicated, cultural variables have not been systematically evaluated to determine their relationship to anxiety symptoms in Latino youth. The present study examined family orientation values, as measured by family obligation and affiliative obedience, and their relationship to youth anxiety symptoms. The sample consisted of 133 Latino students (grades 5th through 7th) of low-income backgrounds in an urban public school setting. Structural equation models revealed that higher family orientation was associated with separation anxiety/panic (β=.32) and harm avoidance (β=.51). Models employing language proficiency and use mirrored those employing family orientation, suggesting that language fluency captures, in part, family socialization values. The results provide support for the impact of culture in the assessment and specific needs of Latino youth with anxiety problems.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of anxiety disorders
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    • "Children living in Puerto Rico had higher levels of parent-reported asthma, abdominal pain, and headaches than Puerto Rican children in the Bronx. This site difference is consistent with the adult literature showing that island Puerto Ricans have the highest rates of somatic symptoms across racial/ethnic groups (Canino et al., 1992; Escobar et al., 1989; Shrout et al., 1992). Differences in acculturation and exposure to parents who are more likely to somatize may contribute to these differences between island and mainland Puerto Rican children on functionally somatic disorders, such as tension headaches and recurrent abdominal pain. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine associations among Puerto Rican children's physical health problems and children's internalizing disorders, parental psychopathology and acculturative stress, and family factors. A population-based probability sample of 2491 Puerto Rican children, aged between 5 and 13 years, and caregivers from the South Bronx and the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico participated in this study. The parent version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV was used to assess children's internalizing disorders. Children's anxiety disorders, parental psychopathology, and acculturative stress were associated with childhood asthma, abdominal pain, and headaches. Children's depressive disorders, maternal acceptance, and family functioning were associated with abdominal pain and headaches. Parents of children living in Puerto Rico were more likely to report physical health problems in their children than in the Bronx. Children's internalizing disorders, parental psychopathology, and acculturative stress may be important areas to target among Puerto Rican children with physical health problems.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · The Journal of nervous and mental disease
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