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Psychosocial Factors and Perceived Severity of Functional Dyspeptic Symptoms: A Psychosocial Interactionist Model

Cheng, Cecilia PhD; Hui, Wai-mo MD, and; Lam, Shiu-kum MD

doi: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000106885.40753.C1

Objective A psychosocial interactionist model was presented to provide a systematic account of individual differences in perceived functional dyspeptic symptom severity.

Methods In a population-based survey, 4038 Hong Kong subjects (age 18–80 years) were interviewed. Five hundred ninety interviewees (14.6%) met the diagnostic criteria for functional dyspepsia (FD), and 396 of them participated in this study.

Results Results from multiple regression analyses revealed significant main effects of monitoring, emotional support, and coping flexibility on perceived FD symptom severity. A significant emotional support by coping flexibility interaction effect was also found.

Conclusions The present findings provided support for the psychosocial interactionist model in showing that (1) monitoring is a risk factor related to greater perceived symptom severity, (2) emotional support and coping flexibility are resource factors related to lower perceived symptom severity, and (3) the beneficial role of emotional support is present only among those higher in coping flexibility but not among those lower in coping flexibility.

From the Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (C.C.), and the University Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong (W.H., S.L.), Hong Kong.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Cecilia Cheng, PhD, Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong. E-mail:

This research was supported by the Research Grants Council’s Competitive Earmarked Research Grant HKUST6047/02H, the Occupational Safety and Health Council’s Full Research Grant OSHC98/99.HSS01, and the Research Grants Council’s Direct Allocation Grant DAG02/03.HSS10. The authors thank the participants in this study for their time. We also thank Pak-cheong Chung, Kin-tong Kwan, Roslind Sukendar, Violet Sze, and Yuk-pui Yau for research assistance.

Copyright © 2004 by American Psychosomatic Society
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