Authors

Sergio Vargas-Prada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
David Coggon, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Georgia Ntani, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Georgia Ntani, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Karen Walker-Bone, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Keith T. Palmer, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Vanda E. Felli, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Raul Harari, Institute for the Development of Production and the Work Environment, Quito, Ecuador
Lope H. Barrero, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Sarah A. Felknor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, United States of America
David Gimeno, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, United States of America
Anna Cattrell, Goodmayes Hospital, Ilford, United Kingdom
Matteo Bonzini, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
Eleni Solidaki, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Eda Merisalu, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia
Rima R. Habib, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Farideh Sadeghian, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Iran
Muhammad Masood Kadir, Aga Khan UnviversityFollow
Sudath S. P. Warnakulasuriya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
Ko Matsudaira, The University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
Busisiwe Nyantumbu, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa
Malcolm R. Sim, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Helen Harcombe, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Ken Cox, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Leila M. M. Sarquis, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba-PR, Brazil
Maria H. Marziale, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Florencia Harari, Institute for the Development of Production and the Work Environment, Quito, Ecuador
Rocio Freire, Institute for the Development of Production and the Work Environment, Quito, Ecuador
Natalia Harari, Institute for the Development of Production and the Work Environment, Quito, Ecuador
Magda V. Monroy, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Leonardo A. Quintana, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Marianela Rojas, National University of Costa Rica, Heredia, Costa Rica
E. Clare Harris, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Consol Serra, Occupational Health Service, Parc de Salut MAR, Barcelona, Spain
J. Miguel Martinez, Servicio de Investigación y Análisis IT/EP, Departamento de Investigación y Análisis de Prestaciones, MC Mutual, Barcelona, Spain
George Delclos, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
Fernando G. Benavides, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
Michele Carugno, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
Marco M. Ferrario, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
Angela C. Pesatori, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
Leda Chatzi, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Panos Bitsios, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Manolis Kogevinas, CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health, Barcelona, Spain
Kristel Oha, North Estonia Medical Centre, Tallinn, Estonia
Tiina Freimann, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia
Ali Sadeghian, Klinikum Leverkusen, Leverkusen, Germany
Roshini J. Peiris-John, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
Nalini Sathiakumar, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America
A. Rajitha Wickremasinghe, University of Kalaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Noriko Yoshimura, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Helen L. Kelsall, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Victor C. W. Hoe, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Donna M. Urquhart, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sarah Derrett, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
David McBride, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Peter Herbison, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Andrew Gray, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Eduardo J. Salazar Vega, AkzoNobel, Houston, Texas, United States of America

Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Somatising tendency, defined as a predisposition to worry about common somatic symptoms, is importantly associated with various aspects of health and health-related behaviour, including musculoskeletal pain and associated disability. To explore its epidemiological characteristics, and how it can be specified most efficiently, we analysed data from an international longitudinal study. A baseline questionnaire, which included questions from the Brief Symptom Inventory about seven common symptoms, was completed by 12,072 participants aged 20-59 from 46 occupational groups in 18 countries (response rate 70%). The seven symptoms were all mutually associated (odds ratios for pairwise associations 3.4 to 9.3), and each contributed to a measure of somatising tendency that exhibited an exposure-response relationship both with multi-site pain (prevalence rate ratios up to six), and also with sickness absence for non-musculoskeletal reasons. In most participants, the level of somatising tendency was little changed when reassessed after a mean interval of 14 months (75% having a change of 0 or 1 in their symptom count), although the specific symptoms reported at follow-up often differed from those at baseline. Somatising tendency was more common in women than men, especially at older ages, and varied markedly across the 46 occupational groups studied, with higher rates in South and Central America. It was weakly associated with smoking, but not with level of education. Our study supports the use of questions from the Brief Symptom Inventory as a method for measuring somatising tendency, and suggests that in adults of working age, it is a fairly stable trait.

Publication

PLoS ONE

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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