Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Gen Pract. 2007;13(2):60-6.

The natural history of psychosomatic symptoms and their association with psychological symptoms: observations from the Population Study of Women in Gothenburg.

Author information

Department of Primary Health Care, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.



To study the prevalence of subjective unspecified psychological symptoms (UPS) in a cohort of middle-aged women and the development of psychosomatic symptoms over 24 years.


In 1968-1969, 1462 randomly selected women, aged 38, 46, 50, 54 and 60, were recruited. A 24-year follow-up was performed in 1992-1993 (n=836). The same structured interview concerning psychological and psychosomatic symptoms was used on both occasions.


The prevalence of UPS was 28% in 1968-1969 and 20% in 1992-1993. Women with UPS in 1968-1969 were significantly more likely to have asthma/obstructive symptoms (34% vs 26%), headache (38% vs 22%) and abdominal symptoms (40% vs 21%), but not hypertension/high blood pressure (28% vs 28%), than women who did not report UPS. In 1992-1993, women with UPS in 1968-1969 were significantly still more likely to have asthmatic (25% vs 18%) and abdominal symptoms (44% vs 33%). Sixty-one per cent of women with UPS in 1968-1969 did not report such symptoms in 1992-1993, compared to 86% of women without UPS in 1968-1969 (p<0.001).


Women reporting UPS seemed to have a higher frequency of simultaneous psychosomatic symptoms than women not reporting UPS. However, having UPS was apparently unassociated with the development of psychosomatic symptoms over time. Psychosomatic symptoms in women seem to be self-limiting and decrease with time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center