Emotional reactivity and the overreport of somatic symptoms: Somatic sensitivity or negative reporting style?

Keith Robert Aronson, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Karen Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the role of emotional reactivity (ER) in symptom reporting and conceptualize somatizing processes as a signal detection task. Emotional reactivity has been theorized to influence symptom reporting through somatic sensitivity as well as via a negative reporting style. We assess the degree to which these two competing theories about the role of ER are accurate within the signal detection framework. Methods: We used a multimethod approach that included using both static and prospective self-reports as well as a signal detection task. Results: Results suggest that ER exerts its influence on somatization tendencies via a negatively biased reporting style and is not mediated by somatic sensitivity as suggested by the somatosensory amplification and the symptom perception hypothesis. Conclusion: Emotional reactivity has yet to be associated with objective measures of somatic sensitivity. Until such an association is found, it is likely that ER influences symptom reports via negatively biased reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume60
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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