The syndrome of hypochondriasis: a cross-national study in primary care

Gureje, O., Ustun, T. B., Simon, G. E., Kisely, S and et al. (1997) The syndrome of hypochondriasis: a cross-national study in primary care. Psychological Medicine, 27 5: 1001-1010. doi:10.1017/S0033291797005345

Author Gureje, O.
Ustun, T. B.
Simon, G. E.
Kisely, S
et al.
Title The syndrome of hypochondriasis: a cross-national study in primary care
Journal name Psychological Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0033-2917
Publication date 1997-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0033291797005345
Volume 27
Issue 5
Start page 1001
End page 1010
Total pages 10
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background. The nature and correlates of hypochondriasis are still poorly understood, especially in settings other than those in North America and Western Europe.

Methods. A total of 25 916 consecutive patients making ambulatory visits to primary care clinics at 15 sites in 14 countries were screened using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Based on the screen-score performance, a stratified sample of 5447 of respondents was evaluated at the second-stage (response rate: 62%). Evaluation consisted of physician-rated physical and psychological health status and self-ratings of overall health, physical disability and GHQ-28. Interviewers conducted assessment of psychiatric status, using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and occupational disability.

Results. Across the sites, the occurrence of ICD-10 hypochondriasis was 0.8% (95% Confidence Interval, 0.5-1.0%) and over 1.5% at only two sites. A less restrictively-define form of the disorder had a pooled frequency of 2.2% (95% Confidence Interval, 1.8-2.6%) across the sites. Patients with this abridged hypochondriasis were more likely than those without to have co-morbid major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. They had a poorer perception of their health, were more physically disabled, were more impaired in the performance of occupational role, and were above-average utilizers of health service. Patients with ICD-10 hypochondriasis were no more impaired than those with abridged hypochondriasis.

Conclusion. Even though the ICD-10-defined hypochondriasis is rare, a form consisting of the triad of disease conviction, associated distress and medical help-seeking is present in primary-care settings in different cultures. This syndrome is associated with considerable psychiatric ill-health and functional disability.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 18 Nov 2009, 12:15:30 EST