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Extending a structural model of somatization to South Koreans: Cultural values, somatization tendency, and the presentation of depressive symptoms

 Xiaolu Zhou  ;  Seongho Min  ;  Jiahong Sun  ;  Se Joo Kim  ;  Joung-sook Ahn  ;  Yunshi Peng  ;  Samuel Noh  ;  Andrew G. Ryder 
 JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS, Vol.176 : 151-154, 2015 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adolescent ; Adult ; Aged ; Asian Continental Ancestry Group/psychology* ; Culture* ; Depression/complications* ; Depression/psychology* ; Female ; Humans ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Models, Psychological ; Outpatients/psychology ; Republic of Korea ; Somatoform Disorders/complications* ; Somatoform Disorders/etiology ; Somatoform Disorders/psychology* ; Symptom Assessment ; Young Adult
Culture ; Depression ; Korea ; Somatization
BACKGROUND: Somatization refers to the tendency to emphasize somatic symptoms when experiencing a psychiatric disturbance. This tendency has been widely reported in patients from East Asian cultural contexts suffering from depression. Recent research in two Chinese samples have demonstrated that the local cultural script for depression, involving two aspects-the experience and expression of distress (EED) and conceptualization and communication of distress (CCD)-can be evoked to help explain somatization. Given the beliefs and practices broadly shared across Chinese and South Korean cultural contexts, the current study seeks to replicate this explanatory model in South Koreans. METHODS: Our sample included 209 psychiatric outpatients from Seoul and Wonju, South Korea. Self-report questionnaires were used to assess somatization tendency, adherence to traditional values, and psychological and somatic symptoms of depression. RESULTS: Results from SEM showed that the EED and CCD factors of somatization tendency were differently associated with cultural values and somatic symptoms, replicating our previous findings in Chinese outpatients. LIMITATIONS: The reliance on a brief self-report measure of somatization tendency, not originally designed to assess separate EED and CCD factors, highlights the need for measurement tools for the assessment of cultural scripts in cross-cultural depression research. CONCLUSIONS: The replication of the Chinese structural model of somatization in South Korea lends empirical support to the view that somatization can be understood as the consequence of specific cultural scripts. These scripts involve the experience and expression of distress as well as culturally meaningful ways in which this distress is conceptualized and communicated to others.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Psychiatry (정신과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Se Joo(김세주) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5438-8210
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