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Authors: Beutel, Manfred E.
Klein, Eva M.
Henning, Michaela
Werner, Antonia M.
Burghardt, Juliane
Tibubos, Ana Nanette
Schmutzer, Gabriele
Brähler, Elmar
Title: Somatic symptoms in the German general population from 1975 to 2013
Online publication date: 22-Oct-2020
Year of first publication: 2020
Language: english
Abstract: The study determines how burden and patterns of somatic symptom reporting developed over almost four decades in the general German population. Additionally, we studied how socio-demographic factors affected the degree of somatic symptoms. Population-based samples representative for West Germany between 18 and 60 years of age were analyzed comparing three cross-sectional samples of 1975 (N = 1601), 1994 (N = 1416), and 2013 (N = 1290) by conducting a three-way analysis of variance (sex, age, survey). The prevalence rates for somatic symptoms in men and women were lower in the more recent surveys; this affected women most strongly. Exhaustion and musculoskeletal complaints remained leading symptoms (affecting 25%, resp. 11% of the men and 30%, resp. 19% of the women). There was a slight increase in women’s prevalence of exhaustion from 1994 (15%) to 2013 (19%). As determined by stepwise multiple regression, somatic symptoms were consistently associated with female sex and higher age. In the 2013 survey, education became an additional negative predictor of somatic symptom load, while the impact of age and sex on somatic symptoms reporting decreased. Somatic symptoms remain a major burden in the general population. Findings are interpreted with regard to improved living and health care conditions, different cohort experiences, and more public health information.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Scientific reports
Pages or article number: Art. 1595
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2020
ISSN: 2045-2322
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-58602-6
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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