Association of somatic symptoms with depression and anxiety in clinical patients of general hospitals in Guangzhou, China.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: In high-income countries, depression and anxiety are reported to be common reasons for patients visiting nonpsychiatric services. This study aimed to assess the rate of depression and anxiety, and their associations with somatic symptoms, in patients presenting to clinics of general hospitals in Guangzhou, China. METHODS: In a hospital-based cross-sectional study of 2408 randomly selected clinical patients from 15 general hospitals, we assessed depression and anxiety via the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), somatic symptoms via the Patient Health Questionnaire 15-Item Somatic Symptom Severity Scale (PHQ-15) and patients' view of the impact of somatic symptoms on their life, job and social relationships. Multiple logistic models were used to analyze the association of somatic symptoms with depression and anxiety, the underlying physical diseases and the self-rated somatic symptoms' impact on social functions. RESULTS: Of the participants, 454 (19.0%) reported moderate to high somatic symptoms (PHQ-15 score ≥ 10), 367 (15.2%) had depression (HADS-D score ≥ 7), 167 (6.9%) had anxiety (HADS-A score ≥ 10), and 125 (5.2%) had both depression and anxiety (HADS-D ≥ 7 and HADS-A ≥ 10). Patients with depression and anxiety had higher somatic symptoms and rated these symptoms as having a greater negative impact on their social functions. Relevant to other systemic diseases, only digestive system disease was associated with higher somatic symptoms and self-rated negative social impact, and great negative emotions. Stepwise multiple logistic analyses demonstrated that female sex and depression and anxiety were the main factors for the high somatic symptoms of the population. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients who visit hospital clinics in Guangzhou, China, somatic complaints are highly associated with depression and anxiety, and rarely associated with their underlying medical diseases. The findings indicate the importance of recognizing and managing depression and anxiety for these patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhu, C; Ou, L; Geng, Q; Zhang, M; Ye, R; Chen, J; Jiang, W

Published Date

  • March 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 113 - 120

PubMed ID

  • 22001551

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-7714

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.09.005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States