Journal article Open Access

Somatisation in primary care: A comparative study of Australians, Latin Americans, Vietnamese, and Polish living in Australia

Gonzales, Hugo

This study identified differences in somatisation symptoms, psychiatric status, and the relationship between acculturation and somatisation. It also investigated GP’s (general practitioners) ability to detect somatisation in primary healthcare setting. A survey was carried out on 207 patients from Australia, Latin America, Vietnam, and Poland. A demographic questionnaire, an acculturation questionnaire, the Somatization Scale of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ), and the Illness Behaviour Questionnaire (IBQ) were administered in the participants’ respective languages. In addition, GPs completed a brief rating scale with findings from medical consultation. These results demonstrated that psychosocial status was highly correlated to somatisation for Australians, Latin Americans, Vietnamese, and Polish. Overall, however, these groups did not present significant differences in symptoms of somatisation. GPs were generally inaccurate in detecting psychosocial difficulties and acculturation did not predict levels of somatisation in the three ethnic groups.

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