Abstract: Mutilation anxiety differs among females with fibromyalgia and functional dyspepsia and population controls

J Psychosom Res. 2003 Jun;54(6):523-31.  Malt EA, Ursin H.  Department of Psychiatry, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5022, Bergen, Norway

BACKGROUND: Studies using self-report rating scales suggest a considerable overlap regarding symptom complaints in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and functional dyspepsia (FD), while clinical assessments point to important psychological differences.

PURPOSE: To test the hypothesis that measurement of psychological state by means of content analysis of speech will demonstrate differentiation between the two patient groups and between patients with these disorders and age-matched population-based random sample controls.

METHOD: The Giessener Symptom Complaints Checklist assessed somatic complaints. The computerised Gottschalk-Gleser content analysis method assessed psychological state in 42 females with FM, 17 females with FD and 48 population-based, randomly selected control subjects.

RESULTS: FM patients score higher on mutilation anxiety than FD and control subjects. FD patients had the highest score for death anxiety. Mutilation anxiety and low hope score identified FM patients (sensitivity 68%, specificity 81%, overall classification 75%), but only 19% of the variation in total somatic complaints could be predicted from these or other psychological state scores. In FD patients, however, death anxiety explained 59% of the variance in gastrointestinal complaints.

INTERPRETATION: Psychological state was differentiated among the three groups. Mutilation anxiety may be a psychological marker of an underlying neurobiological vulnerability for FM or may represent a secondary long-term consequence of chronic illness. In FD, death anxiety is directly related to symptom complaints, suggesting a stronger etiological association between emotions and somatic complaints in this disorder.

PMID: 12781306 [PubMed – in process]

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