Risk factors

Although risk factors for unexplained somatic symptoms include female gender, younger age, non-white race, less education, and lower income, few of these variables appear important for hypochondriasis.(42) In primary care populations, although more women are hypochondriacal, their numbers are proportional to those attending such clinics. Barksy et al. found no relationship between age and hypochondriasis.(43) Few relationships with educational and occupational status have been observed.(28)

There appears to be little correlation between physical disease and hypochondriasis. For example, Barsky et al.(44) observed no difference in aggregate medical morbidity between hypochondriacal and non-hypochondriacal outpatients. Within their non-hypochondriacal sample, higher levels of morbidity were associated with higher levels of hypochondriasis, but this was because the most severely ill reported more bodily preoccupation, disease conviction, and somatization. However, within the hypochondriacal sample itself there was no significant correlation. This is consistent with the lack of association between hypochondriasis and age.

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