Somatization Among Refugees: An Epidemiologie Study

Joseph Westermeyer, Mayka Bouafuely, John Neider, Allan Callies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Somatization has been widely reported among refugee psychiatric patients since World War II, and some psychological theorists have viewed somatization as an alternative to depression. These and other theories were tested in a population survey of 97 Hmong refugees who had lived in the U.S. for several years. Four different measures of somatization were employed, including a 12-item self-rating scale, a single-item global rating based on the total interview, and somatic subscales of the two Hamilton interview-rating scales. These data demonstrate that somatization accompanies certain demographic characteristics that are associated with failure to acculturate. Somatization in this non-patient, refugee population was associated with treatment seeking and self-identified “medical problems” and with psychiatric symptoms and disorders, but not with objective evidence of medical disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosomatics
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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