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Psychosomatics. 2006 Sep-Oct;47(5):392-8.

Somatic complaints in primary care: further examining the validity of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-15).

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Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 671 Hoes Lane D306, Piscataway, NJ 08854-5635, USA.


The authors examined the reliability and validity of the PHQ-15, a measure of current somatic complaints. An index of medically unexplained symptoms was used as a key criterion. Data were utilized from medical outpatients enrolled in a treatment study for moderate-to-severe somatization (N=172). Approximately 68% of the sample was Hispanic. Results showed that the PHQ-15 was moderately related to a history of medically unexplained symptoms among non-Hispanic participants. Results indicated ethnic differences on the validity profile of the PHQ-15 showing that the criterion variables were less predictive of the PHQ-15 among Hispanics than among non-Hispanics. Also, among the Hispanic group, the PHQ-15 was less related to medically unexplained symptoms and more to psychiatric distress. General support was provided for using the PHQ-15 with clinical samples composed of non-Hispanics. Also, the PHQ-15 appears to measure medically unexplained symptoms, psychiatric distress, and physical functioning. Further study is recommended to better evaluate ethnic variations and other types of validity for the PHQ-15.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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