Barsky A.J., Wool C., Barnett M.C., Cleary P.D.
Histories of Childhood Trauma in Adult Hypochondriacal
Am.J.Psychiatry, vol.151, nr.3, pp.397-401 (1994)
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This study examined the childhood histories of trauma, parental
attitudes toward health, and physical illness in hypochondriacal
Sixty outpatients with DSM-III-R hypochondriasis and 60
nonhypochondriacal outpatients from the same general medical clinic
were compared. All patients completed the Childhood Traumatic Events
Scale and an eight-item questionaire about childhood illness and
health. Medical morbidity was assessed with a medical record audit.
Significantly more hypochondriacal than nonhypochondriacal patients
reported traumatic sexual contact (28.6% versus 7.3%), physical
violence (32.1% versus 7.3%) and major parental upheaval (28.6% versus
9.1%) before the age of 17. These differences remained statistically
significant after sociodemographic differences between the groups were
controlled for with multivariate regression analysis. The two groups
did not differ in the age at which these traumas occured or in the
degree of trauma experienced. Significantly more hypochondriacal
patients reported being sick as children and missing school for health
reasons, but they did not differ in other measures of childhood
illness and parental attitudes toward illness. The two groups had
similar levels of aggregate medical morbidity.
Hypochondriacal adults recall more childhood trauma than do
nonhypochondriacal patients, even after sociodemographic differences
are controlled for. They also recall more childhood illness, although
they are not currently more medically sick.