Article

Journal of Clinical Geropsychology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 199-212

Symptom Expression and Somatization Among Elderly Korean Immigrants

  • Keum Young Chung PangAffiliated withDivision of Nursing, Howard University, College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences

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Abstract

In a study of expression of symptoms of somatization, depression, and other biopsychological conditions, 70 elderly Korean immigrants in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (35 who met the criteria for major depression and 35 who did not meet those criteria) were administered a Korean version of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Subjects who met the criteria for depression had the highest mean score on the BSI somatization dimension compared with other normative samples including a sample of psychiatric inpatients. A factor analysis of data from the BSI showed that for elderly Korean immigrants, a factor of somatization was identified that included the items from the original BSI obsessive-compulsive, somatization, and anxiety dimensions. Items loading on the somatization factor suggest that elderly Korean subjects experience body and mind as a unitary system and tend to communicate the distress associated with old age, cultural adjustment, and family and social changes through somatic symptoms.

elderly Korean immigrants depression somatization factor analysis Brief Symptom Inventory