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Psychosomatics. 2001 Jul-Aug;42(4):320-9.

Personality dysfunction among somatizing patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Colleges of Medicine and Public Health, Iowa City 52242, USA.


To examine the nature and extent of personality dysfunction related to somatization, the authors administered the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory to a series of somatizing and nonsomatizing patients in a general medicine clinic. A greater percentage of somatizers met criteria for one or more DSM-IV personality disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder, than did control patients. Somatizers also differed from control patients with respect to self-defeating, depressive, and negativistic personality traits and scored higher on the dimension of neuroticism and lower on the dimension of agreeableness. In addition, initial and facultative somatizers showed more personality pathology than true somatizers. These findings suggest that certain personality disorders and traits contribute to somatization by way of increased symptom reporting and care-seeking behavior.

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