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J Psychiatr Res. 1990;24(4):323-34.

The somatosensory amplification scale and its relationship to hypochondriasis.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


Forty-one DSM-III-R hypochondriacs and seventy-five randomly chosen patients were obtained from a medical outpatient clinic, and completed a psychiatric diagnostic interview and a ten-item self-report questionnaire, the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSAS); The SSAS asks the respondent how much s/he is bothered by various uncomfortable visceral and somatic sensations, most of which are not the pathological symptoms of serious diseases. SSAS scores were normally distributed, and had acceptable test-retest reliability and internal consistency. They were not related to sociodemographic characteristics, or to aggregate medical morbidity. Amplification was significantly higher in the DSM-III-R hypochondriacs than in the comparison sample, and was significantly correlated with the degree of hypochondriacal symptomatology within each sample. In the comparison sample, it was also significantly associated with depressive and anxiety disorders, but not with antisocial personality or substance abuse. The association between the amplification scale and DSM-III-R hypochondriasis remained highly significant after controlling for these concurrent psychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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