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Prevalence, overlap, and predictors of functional somatic syndromes in a student sample


Fischer, Susanne; Gaab, Jens; Ehlert, Ulrike; Nater, Urs M (2013). Prevalence, overlap, and predictors of functional somatic syndromes in a student sample. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20(2):184-193.

Abstract

Background
Although at least 20 different functional somatic syndromes (FSS) have been described, and overlaps between individual FSS and a high comorbidity with depressive and anxiety disorders have been suggested, barely any studies have examined a broad array of FSS within one study. Moreover, information on psychosocial risk factors gained from prospective studies is scarce.

Purpose
This study aimed to determine prevalence rates, overlap, and comorbidity in 17 FSS and to estimate the influence of psychosocial risk factors on the development of FSS.
Methods
In total, 3,054 students (73.4 % women) completed a Web survey containing questions on FSS, comorbidity, and psychosocial risk factors at baseline. Of these, 429 completed the survey again 6 months later.

Results
The prevalence of any FSS was 9.5 %, with 227 (78.6 %) subjects fulfilling criteria for only one FSS, 49 (17.0 %) reporting two, and 12 (4.2 %) reporting three syndromes simultaneously. Only one person suffered from four FSS at the same time. “Major depressive syndrome” (15.6 %), “panic syndrome” (4.8 %), and “other anxiety syndromes” (19.7 %) frequently occurred among persons with FSS. Significant predictors of FSS were number of somatic symptoms (OR = 1.15), impairment in daily activities (OR = 3.17), depression (OR = 1.13), and somatization (OR = 1.15).

Conclusions
Our findings indicate that FSS are common in nonclinical samples. The frequency of overlap and comorbidity in FSS was lower compared with previous research. A consideration of psychosocial risk factors is warranted in the prevention and management of FSS.

Abstract

Background
Although at least 20 different functional somatic syndromes (FSS) have been described, and overlaps between individual FSS and a high comorbidity with depressive and anxiety disorders have been suggested, barely any studies have examined a broad array of FSS within one study. Moreover, information on psychosocial risk factors gained from prospective studies is scarce.

Purpose
This study aimed to determine prevalence rates, overlap, and comorbidity in 17 FSS and to estimate the influence of psychosocial risk factors on the development of FSS.
Methods
In total, 3,054 students (73.4 % women) completed a Web survey containing questions on FSS, comorbidity, and psychosocial risk factors at baseline. Of these, 429 completed the survey again 6 months later.

Results
The prevalence of any FSS was 9.5 %, with 227 (78.6 %) subjects fulfilling criteria for only one FSS, 49 (17.0 %) reporting two, and 12 (4.2 %) reporting three syndromes simultaneously. Only one person suffered from four FSS at the same time. “Major depressive syndrome” (15.6 %), “panic syndrome” (4.8 %), and “other anxiety syndromes” (19.7 %) frequently occurred among persons with FSS. Significant predictors of FSS were number of somatic symptoms (OR = 1.15), impairment in daily activities (OR = 3.17), depression (OR = 1.13), and somatization (OR = 1.15).

Conclusions
Our findings indicate that FSS are common in nonclinical samples. The frequency of overlap and comorbidity in FSS was lower compared with previous research. A consideration of psychosocial risk factors is warranted in the prevention and management of FSS.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:15 Oct 2012 13:18
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:59
Publisher:Springer
Series Name:International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
ISSN:1070-5503
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-012-9266-x
PubMed ID:23055025

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