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J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(5), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7050112

Alexithymia and Somatosensory Amplification Link Perceived Psychosocial Stress and Somatic Symptoms in Outpatients with Psychosomatic Illness

1
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, School of Medicine, International University of Health and Welfare, Narita, Chiba 286-8686, Japan
2
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Teikyo University Hospital, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan
3
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, School of Medicine, Toho University Hospital, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 6 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosomatic Medicine)
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Abstract

Background: Psychosomatic patients often complain of a variety of somatic symptoms. We sought to clarify the role of clinical predictors of complaints of somatic symptoms. Methods: We enrolled 604 patients visiting a psychosomatic outpatient clinic. The outcome was the total number of somatic symptoms, and the candidate clinical predictors were perceived psychosocial stress, alexithymia, somatosensory amplification, adaptation, anxiety, and depression. All participants completed questionnaires assessing the outcome and the predictors. Results: The average number of reported somatic symptoms was 4.8; the most frequent was fatigue (75.3%), followed by insomnia (56.1%), low-back pain (49.5%), headache (44.7%), and palpitations (43.1%). Multiple regression analysis showed that the total number of somatic symptoms was significantly associated with the degree of perceived psychosocial stress, alexithymia, somatosensory amplification, and depression. Also, structural equation models indicated links between excessive adaptation (via perceived psychosocial stress, alexithymia, and somatosensory amplification) and the total number of somatic symptoms. Conclusion: The results suggested that the association between psychosocial stress and reported somatic symptoms is mediated by alexithymia and somatosensory amplification in psychosomatic patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: alexithymia; anxiety; depression; excessive adaptation; psychosocial stress; psychosomatic medicine; somatic symptom; somatosensory amplification alexithymia; anxiety; depression; excessive adaptation; psychosocial stress; psychosomatic medicine; somatic symptom; somatosensory amplification
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Nakao, M.; Takeuchi, T. Alexithymia and Somatosensory Amplification Link Perceived Psychosocial Stress and Somatic Symptoms in Outpatients with Psychosomatic Illness. J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7, 112.

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