Somatization: Theories and Research

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Abstract

The author lists the main theories of somatization and some of the pertinent empirical studies. The studies suggest that there is no single theory that can adequately explain somatization, which is not only multifactorially determined but is an exceedingly complex phenomenon. There is consistent empirical support for some of the theories, such as somatization being a function of depression or of anxiety, and little or inconsistent research support for some other theories, such as its being a symbolic method of communication or an attempt at conflict resolution. The contributions of the various etiological factors differ from one individual to the next, and it requires sometimes lengthy exploration before the extent of the various contributions can be gleaned.

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