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Neuroticism and somatic complaints: Concomitant effects of rumination and worry

Denovan, Andrew and Dagnall, Neil and Lofthouse, George (2018) Neuroticism and somatic complaints: Concomitant effects of rumination and worry. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 47 (4). pp. 431-445. ISSN 1469-1833

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Abstract

Background: Neuroticism is associated with inflated somatic symptom reporting. Worry and rumination are a cognitive concomitant of neuroticism and potentially mediate the neuroticism-somatic complaint relationship. Aims: The present study examined the degree to which worry and rumination mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Method: A sample of 170 volunteers, recruited via convenience sampling, took part. Participants completed a series of self-report measures comprising the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised-Short Form, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Ruminative Response Scale and the Somatic Symptom Scale-8. Results: Analysis revealed significant positive correlations between neuroticism, rumination and worry. Neuroticism, rumination and worry also correlated positively with somatic complaints. Using structural equation modelling, a mediational model indicated that rumination fully mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Conclusions: Findings are consistent with the symptom perception hypothesis and have implications for healthcare in terms of managing individuals who present with multiple somatic complaints. Future research would benefit from adopting a longitudinal approach to test how rumination interacts with neuroticism and somatic complaints over time.

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