Author(s): Alqahtani MM, Salmon P
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of psychological disorders and somatization among primary care patients from a semi-urban area of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. DESIGN: Screening of consecutive patients with the 12-item and 28-item versions of the General Health Questionnaires and assessments of physical symptoms associated with somatization, using the HSCL-12. Eight primary care health centres in Assir, Saudi Arabia. RESULTS: About half of the sample had one or more psychological disorders. The prevalence of somatization detected by the GHQ-28 was 16\%. The prevalence of somatization indicated by GPs' identification of medically unexplained symptoms was 14\%. Women displayed higher levels of somatization than men. CONCLUSION: This study reported prevalence of psychological disorders that was as high as found in the more modern areas of Saudi Arabia such as Riyadh. The view that individuals in less open areas are protected from psychological disorders associated with stress and lifestyle pressure seems to be unsubstantiated. The results highlight the potential value of screening for psychological disorders using such simple instruments as the GHQ.
This article was published in J Family Community Med
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy