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Social position and functional somatic disorders: The DanFunD study

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  • Signe U. Schovsbo, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital
  • ,
  • Thomas M. Dantoft, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital
  • ,
  • Betina H. Thuesen, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital
  • ,
  • Katja B. Leth-Møller, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital
  • ,
  • Lene F. Eplov, Mental Health Center Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Marie Weinreich Petersen
  • Torben Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen, Aalborg University, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital
  • ,
  • Merete Osler, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital

Background and aim: It is generally accepted that functional somatic disorders (FSDs) are a product of biological, psychological, and social factors. Social position might be part of this complex, but the literature on this issue is currently heterogeneous and inconsistent. The aim of the present study was – in a population-based cohort – to test the hypothesis that lower social position would be associated with higher a risk of FSD. Method: The association between social position and FSD was examined in a cross-sectional study with various measures of social position (education as measured by vocational training; employment; cohabitation; subjective social status) and delimitations of FSD (irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, bodily distress syndrome, and symptom profiles). The associations were analyzed using logistic regressions to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Each social measure was analyzed independently and was adjusted for age and sex. Results: Lower levels of vocational training, being unemployed, and living alone were associated with higher risk of FSD, regardless of the FSD delimitation. There was also a significant negative association between subjective evaluated social status and FSD. The associations remained after multiple adjustments, and seemed to be strongest for the more severe FSD-types. Conclusions: Lower social position is associated with higher risk of FSD, especially the more severe FSD delimitations, which might constitute an especially vulnerable group. However, the mechanisms behind the relations remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesScandinavian Journal of Public Health
ISSN1403-4948
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) 2021.

    Research areas

  • bodily distress syndrome, cohabitation, DanFunD, education, employment, epidemiology, functional somatic disorders, functional somatic syndromes, Social position, subjective social status

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