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J Psychosom Res. 2015 Dec;79(6):614-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.07.007. Epub 2015 Aug 3.

Somatisation as a risk factor for incident depression and anxiety.

Author information

1
Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: s.kersten@vumc.nl.
2
Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Psychiatry, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, GGZ inGeest, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Public Mental Health, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In this study, we aimed to examine somatisation as a risk factor for the onset of depressive and anxiety disorders.

METHODS:

4-year follow-up data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA), a multisite cohort study of the course of depression and anxiety, was analysed. Participants (18-65 years) without a lifetime depressive or anxiety disorder at baseline were included (n=611). Somatisation was measured at baseline with the somatisation subscale of the 4 Dimensional Symptoms Questionnaire. Onset of depression and anxiety was assessed with the CIDI interview at 2-year and 4-year follow-up.

RESULTS:

Somatisation was a risk factor for the incidence of depression [Hazard Ratio per unit increase (HR); 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.13; 1.09-1.17] and anxiety [HR; 95% CI: 1.14; 1.09-1.18]. Associations attenuated but remained statistically significant after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, chronic somatic disorders, and baseline levels of (subclinical) depressive or anxiety symptoms [adjusted HR for depression; 95% CI: 1.06; 1.00-1.12, adjusted HR for anxiety; 95% CI: 1.13; 1.07-1.20].

CONCLUSION:

Persons who somatise have an increased risk of becoming depressed or anxious in subsequent years, over and above baseline levels of depressive or anxiety symptoms. They may represent a target group for prevention of depressive and anxiety disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety disorder; Depressive disorder; Prospective cohort-study; Somatisation

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