Somatic symptom profiles in the general population: a latent class analysis in a Danish population-based health survey

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Marie Eliasen, Torben Jørgensen, Andreas Schröder, Thomas Meinertz Dantoft, Per Fink, Chalotte Heinsvig Poulsen, Nanna Borup Johansen, Lene Falgaard Eplov, Sine Skovbjerg, Svend Kreiner

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to identify and describe somatic symptom profiles in the general adult population in order to enable further epidemiological research within multiple somatic symptoms.

METHODS: Information on 19 self-reported common somatic symptoms was achieved from a population-based questionnaire survey of 36,163 randomly selected adults in the Capital Region of Denmark (55.4% women). The participants stated whether they had been considerably bothered by each symptom within 14 days prior to answering the questionnaire. We used latent class analysis to identify the somatic symptom profiles. The profiles were further described by their association with age, sex, chronic disease, and self-perceived health.

RESULTS: We identified 10 different somatic symptom profiles defined by number, type, and site of the symptoms. The majority of the population (74.0%) had a profile characterized by no considerable bothering symptoms, while a minor group of 3.9% had profiles defined by a high risk of multiple somatic symptoms. The remaining profiles were more likely to be characterized by a few specific symptoms. The profiles could further be described by their associations with age, sex, chronic disease, and self-perceived health.

CONCLUSION: The identified somatic symptom profiles could be distinguished by number, type, and site of the symptoms. The profiles have the potential to be used in further epidemiological studies on risk factors and prognosis of somatic symptoms but should be confirmed in other population-based studies with specific focus on symptom burden.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Epidemiology
Volume9
Pages (from-to)421-433
Number of pages13
ISSN1179-1349
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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