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10-04-2015 | Brief Communication | Uitgave 10/2015

Quality of Life Research 10/2015

Anxiety and insomnia as modifiable risk factors for somatic symptoms in Chinese: a general population-based study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2015
Janet Yuen-Ha Wong, Daniel Yee-Tak Fong, Kelvin Ki-Wan Chan



This study aims at investigating the stressors that increased the risk of somatic symptoms in the general Chinese population.


Chinese participants (n = 202) were recruited in a population-based household survey. Somatic symptoms were measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-15, while potential stressors that increased the risk of somatic symptoms were measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Insomnia Severity Index and ENRICHD Social Support Instrument.


Structured multiphase regression modeling showed that female gender (estimated coefficient = 1.47, 95 % CI .7–2.24, p < .001), history of childhood adversities (estimated coefficient = .41, 95 % CI .06–.76, p = .023), employed (estimated coefficient = .87, 95 % CI .003–1.74, p = .049), a high level of anxiety (estimated coefficient = .26, 95 % CI .17–.36, p < .001) and severe insomnia (estimated coefficient = .11, 95 % CI .04–.18, p = .003) are significant stressors for increasing the risks of somatic symptoms in the Chinese population.


Physical and psychological symptoms are intertwined. It was recommended that reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality would be helpful to reduce somatic symptoms. These findings help in early identification and treatment of Chinese adults with persisting somatization.

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