Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Judah, Matt


Introduction: Persistent and medically unexplained somatic symptoms are widespread and pose significant burden to the healthcare system as patients often overuse consultation services when seeking a diagnosis for their symptoms. In turn, this can lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. Since somatic symptoms are commonly associated with affective disorders but are not always associated with any specific medical diagnoses, identifying accessible methods of better guiding diagnostic tendencies for clinicians should be a priority.

Methods: Participants (N = 114, Mean age = 18.9) were undergraduate students recruited from the University of Arkansas with no prescreening requirements. Linear regression analyses were utilized to assess PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores as predictors of somatic complaints on a medical style symptom checklist while controlling for demographic characteristics.

Results: Without controlling for one another, PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores were significantly positively associated with number of somatic complaints in the symptom checklist (p < 0.001). In a model including both PHQ-9 and GAD-7 together as predictors, GAD-7 scores were significantly positively associated with somatic complaints (p < 0.01), while PHQ-9 scores were not (p > 0.1). An interactive effect of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores on somatic complaints was not found (p > 0.1).

Conclusions: These data build on past findings that anxiety is related to somatic complaints by showing that anxiety is uniquely related to these in a medical style intake form. Specifically, it was found that anxiety symptomology is a unique predictor of somatic complaints when controlling for depression symptomology in a medical style symptom checklist. These data suggest that specific affective symptomology may be useful in explaining persistent and medically unexplained somatic complaints – which pose a common problem in healthcare. Further research is warranted to identify specific somatic complaints associated with particular diagnoses, and how that may effect utilization of checklists in the diagnostic process across age- and gender-diverse populations.


symptomology, somatic complaints, affective, symptom checklists