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Exploring symptoms of somatization in chronic widespread pain: Latent class analysis and the role of personality

Burri, Andrea, Hilpert, Peter, McNair, P and Williams, Frances M (2017) Exploring symptoms of somatization in chronic widespread pain: Latent class analysis and the role of personality Journal of Pain Research, 10. pp. 1733-1740.

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Chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain (CWP) is a condition manifesting varied co-symptomatology and considerable heterogeneity in symptom profiles. This poses an obstacle for disease definition and effective treatment. Latent class analysis (LCA) provides an opportunity to find subtypes of cases in multivariate data. In this study, LCA was used to investigate whether and how individuals with CWP could be classified according to 12 additional somatic symptoms (migraine headaches, insomnia, stiffness, etc.). In a second step, the role of psychological and coping factors for the severity of these co-symptoms was investigated. Data were available for a total of N = 3,057 individuals (mean age = 56.6 years), with 15.4% suffering from CWP. In the latter group, LCA resulted in a three-class solution (ngroup1 = 123; ngroup2 = 306; ngroup3 = 43) with groups differing in a graded fashion (i.e., severity) rather than qualitatively for somatic co-symptom endorsements. A consistent picture emerged, with individuals in the first group reporting the lowest scores and individuals in group 3 reporting the highest. Additionally, more co-symptomatology was associated with higher rates of anxiety sensitivity and depression, as well as more extraversion and emotional instability. No group differences for any of the coping strategies could be identified. The findings suggest that CWP has several detectable subtypes with distinct psychological correlates. The identification of CWP subgroups is important for understanding disease mechanisms and refining prognosis as well as stratifying patients in clinical trials and targeting specific treatment at the subgroups most likely to respond.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Burri, Andrea
McNair, P
Williams, Frances M
Date : 24 July 2017
Funders : EU FP7
DOI : 10.2147/JPR.S139700
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2017 Burri et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.
Uncontrolled Keywords : anxiety sensitivity, extraversion, depression, emotional stability, somatoform symptoms
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 31 Aug 2018 14:32
Last Modified : 11 Dec 2018 11:24

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