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Cognitive-behavioural therapy for patients with multiple somatoform symptoms--a randomised controlled trial in tertiary care.

Author(s): Bleichhardt G, Timmer B, Rief W

Affiliation(s): Roseneck-Centre for Behavioural Medicine, Prien am Chiemsee, Germany. bleichha@mail.uni-mainz.de

Publication date & source: 2004-04, J Psychosom Res., 56(4):449-54.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: (a) To evaluate the effect of a cognitive-behavioural inpatient treatment and (b) to analyse the differential efficacy of an additional ("soma") group management training of somatisation. METHODS: The final sample consisted of 191 patients with somatisation syndrome (patients with at least eight DSM-IV somatoform symptoms). Patients were randomly assigned to (I) "standard treatment + soma" or (II) "standard treatment + relaxation training." A waiting control group consisted of 34 patients. All patients were diagnosed with a structured clinical interview for DSM-IV and received an interview on medical consulting behaviour and questionnaires concerning somatoform symptoms, general psychopathology, subjective health status, and life satisfaction. RESULTS: Results show high impairment of the sample prior to treatment. At the 1-year follow-up, all outcome criteria were significantly reduced. The differential effect of the additional soma treatment was significant only for a reduction of visits to the doctor. Greatest longitudinal effect sizes were found for the reduction of somatoform symptoms. CONCLUSION: Considering the subjects' high initial impairment, the outcome results are encouraging. The specific effect on health care use highlights the socioeconomic relevance. Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.

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