Development of a culture specific (Nigeria) screening scale of somatic complaints indicating psychiatric disturbance
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In a pre-study it was seen that somatization complaints formed the basis of the distress of the mentally ill in Nigeria and there was need for somatic complaints to be employed in evolving a psychodiagnostic system which would lead to a better understanding of mental illness in Nigeria. In pursuit of this goal, some 65 somatic complaints were drawn from protocols of patients treated at the Psychiatric Hospital, Enugu, from 1978–1981. These complaints were administered in form of questions to 179 psychiatric patients and 349 students (normals) of the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu. Forty-six of the 65 complaints distinguished male normals from the psychiatric patients and 30 items of the 65 distinguished the female normals from the female psychiatric patients at the 0.05 level or better. In a further step each subject was rated. A positive response to each of the discriminant items was scored as one point. The mean, standard deviation and cumulative frequency percentage of both groups were calculated. These values are recommended for use in discriminating normals from the mentally ill in Nigeria. This study is seen as a first step leading towards a much wider study involving somatizations in a psychodiagnostic endeavor, as well as throwing more light into the problem of classification of psychiatric disorders in Nigeria.
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