Symptom Reporting: A Focus on Process

  • Howard Leventhal


Why is symptom reporting important? This question can be answered from at least three perspectives: a) that of public health; b) that of medicine; and c) that of the lay person. From the public health perspective, symptom reports obtained in household surveys provide a major source of data on the incidence and prevalence of a variety of diseases (Dingle, 1973). Survey data is particularly valuable in tracking acute infectious and epidemic conditions such as the flu (Dingle, 1973), as well as chronic conditions for which there is no special reporting system or registry such as exist for cancer. These numbers can play a critical role in the detection and control of disease and are important for planning and public health policy.


Emotional Reaction Symptom Reporting Symptom Experience Phantom Limb Illness Representation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahles, T., Blanchard, E.,Leventhal, H. (1983). Cognitive control of pain: Attention to the sensory aspects of the cold pressor stimulus. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 7, 159#x2013;178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allport, G.,Pettigrew, T. F. (1957). Cultural influence on the perception of movement: The trapezoidal illusion among Zulus. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55,104-113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191#x2013;215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumann, L. J.,Leventhal, H. (1985). “I can tell when my blood pressure is up: Can”t I? Health Psychology, 4, 203#x2013;218.Google Scholar
  5. Beecher, H. K. (1959). Measurement of subjective responses. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Blass, E. M., Ganchrow, J. R.,Steiner, J. E. (1984). Classical conditioning in newborn humans 2-48 hours of age. Infant Behavior and Development, 7 ,223#x2013;235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brazelton, T. B., Koslowski, B.,Main, M. (1974). The origins of reciprocity: The early mother-infant interaction. In M. LewisL. A. Rosenblum (Eds.), The effect of the infant on its caretaker. (pp. 49#x2013;76). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Broverman, D. M., Klaiber, E. L., Kobayashi, Y.,Vogel, W. (1968). Roles of activation and inhibition in sex differences in cognitive abilities. Psychological Review, 75, 23#x2013;50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cadoret, R. J., Widmer, R. B.,Troughton, E. P. (1980). Somatic complaints: Harbinger of depression in primary care. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2, 61#x2013;70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Casey, K. L. (1973). Pain: A current review of neural mechanisms. American Scientist, 61, 194#x2013;200.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Chrisman, N. J. (1977). The health seeking process: An approach to the natural history of illness. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 1, 351#x2013;377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dar, R. (1983). Schematic processes in pain perception: Effects of sensation monitoring. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  13. Dingle, J. H. (1973). The ills of man. Scientific American, 229, 77#x2013;84Google Scholar
  14. Fabrega, H. (1975). The need for an ethnomedical science. Science, 189, 969#x2013;976.Google Scholar
  15. Feinstein, A. R., Sosin, D. M.,Wells, C. K. (1985). The Will Rogers Phenomenon’s stage migration and new diagnostic techniques as a source of sleading statistics for survival in cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 312, 1604#x2013;1608.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fordyce, W. E. (1976). Behavior methods for chonic pain and illness. St. Louis: The C.V. Mosby Co.Google Scholar
  17. Frankel, B. G.,Nuttall, S. (1984). Illness behaviour: An exploration of determinants. Social Science and Medicine, 19, 147-155PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gibson, J. J. (1950). The perception of the visual world. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.Google Scholar
  19. Gove, W.,Hughes, M. (1979). Possible causes of the apparent sex differences in physical health: An empirical investigation. American Sociological Review, 44, 126#x2013;146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gross, Y.Melzack, R. (1978). Body image: Dissociation of real and perceived limbs by pressure-cuff ischemia. Experimental Neurology, 61, 680#x2013;688.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Henderson, W. R.,Smyth, G. E. (1948). Phantom limbs. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 11, 88#x2013;111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johnson, J. (1973). Effects of accurate expectations about sensations on sensory and distress components of pain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 261#x2013;275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnson, J. E., Kirchoff, K. T.,Endress, M. P. (1975). Deferring children’s distress behavior during orthopedic cast removal. Nursing Research, 75, 404#x2013;410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, J.,Leventhal, H. (1974). The effects of accurate expectations and behavioral instructions on reactions during a noxious medical examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 710#x2013;718.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnson, J. E., Rice, V. H., Fuller, S. S.,Endress, M. P. (1978). Sensory information, instruction in a coping strategy and recovery from surgery. Research in Nursing and Health, 1 ,4#x2013;17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Julesz, B. (1968). Experiment in perception. Psychology Today, 2, 16#x2013;23.Google Scholar
  27. Katon, W., Kleinman, A.,Rosen, G. (1982a, January). Depression and somatization: A review. Part 1. The American Journal of Medicine, 72, 127#x2013;135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Katon, W., Kleinman, A.,Rosen, G. (1982b, February). Depression and somatization: A review. Part 2. The American Journal of Medicine, 72, 241#x2013;247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kenyon, F. E. (1964). Hypochondriasis: A clinical study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 110, 478 -488.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kessler, R. C., Brown, R. L., and Broman, C. L. (1981). Sex differences in psychiatric help-seeking: Evidence from four large-scale surveys. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 49 -64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kleinman, A. (1980). Patients and healers in the context of culture: An exploration of the borderland between anthropology, medicine and psychiatry. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  32. Leventhal, H. (1970). Findings and theory in the study of fear communications. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 5, 120#x2013;186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Leventhal, H. (1975). The consequences of depersonalization during illness and treatment. In J. HowardA. Strauss (Eds.), Humanizing health care. (pp. 119#x2013;160). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Leventhal, H. (1982). The integration of emotion and cognition: A view from the perceptual-motor theory of emotion. In M. S. Clark and S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Affect and cognition: The Seventeenth Annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition (pp. 121#x2013;156). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  35. Leventhal, H., Brown, D., Shacham, S.,Engquist, G. (1979). Effects of preparatory information about sensations, threat of pain, and attention on cold pressor distress. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 688#x2013;714.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leventhal, H., Easterling, D. V., Coons, H. L., Luchterhand, C. M.,Love, R.R. (in press). Adaptation to chemotherapy treatments. In B. L. Andersen (Ed.), Women with cancer: Psychological consequences. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  37. Lewis, C. E., Lewis, M. A.,Lorimer, A. (1977). The use of school nursing services by children in an “adult free” system. Pediatrics, 60, 499#x2013;507.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Marcus, A. C.,Seeman, T. E. (1981). Sex differences in reports of illness disability: A preliminary test of the “fixed role obligations” hypothesis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 174#x2013;182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mechanic, D. (1972). Social psychologic factors affecting the presentation of bodily complaints. New England Journal of Medicine, 286, 1132#x2013;1139.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mechanic, D. (1976). Sex, illness, illness behavior, and the use of health services. Journal of Human Stress, 2, 29#x2013;40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mechanic, D. (1979). Development of psychological distress among young adults. Archives of General Psychiatry, 36, 1233#x2013;1239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Melzack, R. (1971). Phantom limb pain. Anesthesiology, 35, 409#x2013;419.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Melzack, R. (1973). The puzzle of pain: Revolution in theory and treatment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  44. Meyer, D., Leventhal, H.,Gutmann, M. (1985). Common sense models of illness: The example of hypertension. Health Psychology, 4, 115#x2013;135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Morgenstern, F. S. (1970). Chronic pain. In O. U. Hill (Ed.), Modern trends in psychosomatic medicine. Nwe York: Appleton.Google Scholar
  46. Mountcastle, V. B. (1980). Pain and temperature sensibilities. In V. B. Mountcastle (Ed.), Medical physiology. (pp. 391#x2013;427). St. Louis: C. V. Mosby.Google Scholar
  47. Murphy, G. L. and Medin, D. L. (1985). The role of theories in conceptual coherence. Psychological Review, 92, 289#x2013;316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nathan, P. W. (1962). Pain traces left in the central nervous system. In C. A. KeeleR. Smith (Eds.), The assessment of pain in man and animals. Edinburgh: E.S. Livingston.Google Scholar
  49. Nathanson, C. A. (1975). Illness and the feminine role: A theoretical review. Social Science and Medicine, 9, 57#x2013;62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nerenz, D. R., Leventhal, H., Easterling, D. V.,Love, R. R. (in press). Anxiety and drug taste as predictors of anticipatory nausea in cancer chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology.Google Scholar
  51. Pearlin, L. I.,Schooler, C. (1978). The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 19, 2#x2013;21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pennebaker, J. W. (1982). The psychology of physical symptoms (pp. 81#x2013; 102). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pennebaker, J. W.,Skelton, J. A. (1981). Selective monitoring of bodily sensations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 213#x2013;223.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pilowsky, I. (1978). A general classification of abnormal illness behaviours. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 51, 131#x2013;137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pilowsky, I. (1967). Dimensions of hypochondriasis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 113, 89#x2013;93. .PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pilowsky, I., Bassett, D., Barrett, R., Petrovic, L.,Minniti, R. (1983-84). The illness behavior assessment schedule: Reliability and validity. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 13, 11#x2013;28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Posner, M. I.,Keele, S. W. (1970). Retention of abstract ideas. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 83, 304#x2013;308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schnall, P. L.Kern, R. (1981). Hypertension in American society: An introduction to historical materialist epidemiology. In P. ConradR. Kern, The sociology of health and illness: Critical perspectives (pp. 97#x2013; 125). New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  59. Simmel, M. L. (1962). The reality of phantom sensations. Social Research, 29, 337#x2013;356.Google Scholar
  60. Snyder, S. H. (1977). Opiate receptors and internal opiates. Scientific American, 236, 44#x2013;56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sternbach, R. A. (1968). Pain: A psychophysiological analysis. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  62. Sternberg, S. (1969). Memory-scanning: Mental processes revealed by reaction-time experiments. American Scientist, 57, 421#x2013;457.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Syme, S. L.,Berkman, L. F. (1976). Social class, susceptibility and sickness. American Journal of Epidemiology, 104, 1#x2013;8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Teiles, J. L.,Pollack, M. H. (1981). Feeling sick: The experience and legitimation of illness. Social Science and Medicine, 15A, 243#x2013;51.Google Scholar
  65. Tulving, E. (1985). How many memory systems are there? American Psychologist, 40, 385#x2013;398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Verbrugge, L. M. (1981). Sex differentials in health and mortality. In A. H. Stromberg (Ed.), Women, health and medicine. Palo Alto: Mayfield Publishing.Google Scholar
  67. Verbrugge, L. M. (1985). Gender and health: An update on hypotheses and evidence. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 26, 156#x2013;182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Verbrugge, L. M. and Steiner, R. P. (1981). Physician treatment of men and women patients: Sex bias or appropriate care? Medical Care, 19, 609#x2013;632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ward, S. (1985). Social support: Reciprocity, the negatives and the person with cancer. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  70. Wooley, S.,Blackwell, B. (1975). A behavioral probe into social contingencies on a psychosomatic ward. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 8, 337.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wooley, S. C., Blackwell, B.,Winget, C. W. (1978). A learning theory model of chronic illness behavior: Theory, treatment, and research. Psychosomatic Medicine, 40, 379#x2013;401.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Zborowski, M. (1969). People in pain. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  73. Zola, I.K. (1973). Pathways to the doctor: From person to patient. Social Science and Medicine, 7, 677#x2013;689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Leventhal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinUSA

Personalised recommendations