PMID: 7993282Jun 1, 1994Paper

Depression and somatic symptoms: a cross-cultural study

The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
H MarmanidisR J Hafner


The study was carried out by the same research team in two metropolitan hospitals, one in Greece (N = 60) and one in Australia (N = 56). Subjects comprised patients consecutively admitted with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of depressive disorder, all of whom completed questionnaire measures of depression, anxiety and somatic symptoms. Clinical concepts and practices in the two hospitals were very similar. Overall levels of depression, anxiety and somatic symptoms in the two samples were almost identical, but there were differences in the pattern of somatic complaints: Greeks scored significantly higher on dizziness, paraesthesiae and masticatory spasms, and Australians scored significantly higher on drowsiness, hypersomnia and non-refreshing sleep, with the latter two items being the best discriminators of the two samples using discriminant function analysis. These findings, combined with factor analysis, suggested that symptoms associated with hyperventilation in the Greek sample, and with sleep disturbance in the Australian sample, explained most of the differences between them.


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