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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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
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


Cite this

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.