Prevalence of health anxiety problems in medical clinics

P Tyrer, S Cooper, M Crawford, S Dupont, J Green, D Murphy, Paul M Salkovskis, G Smith, D L Wang, S Bhogal, M Keeling, G Loebenberg, R Seivewright, G Walker, F Cooper, R Evered, S Kings, K Kramo, A McNulty, J NagarS Reid, R Sanatinia, J Sinclair, D Trevor, C Watson, H Tyrer

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Abstract

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of significant health anxiety (hypochondriasis) in patients aged 16 - 75 in cardiology, respiratory medicine, neurological, endocrine and gastrointestinal clinics in general hospitals in London, Middlesex and North Nottinghamshire.

Method: The Health Anxiety Inventory (HAI) (short form) was administered to patients attending the five clinics over a 21 month period and all those who scored 20 or more invited to take part in a further assessment for a randomised controlled trial. Results: Of 43,205 patients attending the clinics 28,991 (67.1%) were assessed and of these, after exclusion of ineligible patients 5747 (19.8%) had significant health anxiety. 444 subsequently agreed to take part in a randomised controlled trial of treatment. The prevalence levels varied by clinic with neurology (24.7%) having the highest prevalence followed by respiratory medicine (20.9%), gastroenterology (19.5%), cardiology (19.1%), and endocrinology (17.5%).

Conclusion: Abnormal health anxiety is common and a significant problem in those attending medical clinics and deserves greater awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-394
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume71
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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Tyrer, P., Cooper, S., Crawford, M., Dupont, S., Green, J., Murphy, D., ... Tyrer, H. (2011). Prevalence of health anxiety problems in medical clinics. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 71(6), 392-394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2011.07.004