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Invited Commentary
March 2014

Assessing Somatic Symptoms in Clinical Practice

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):407-408. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12177

The interesting study by Gierk et al1 tests the psychometric properties of a brief, self-report somatic symptom inventory and raises several broader questions about the sources of somatic symptoms and the use of symptom inventories in clinical practice. As the authors point out, routine clinical assessment of somatic symptoms has many functions: although obviously serving as guideposts to aid in diagnosis, they are also important in their own right as indexes of suffering and distress and can be used to assess the effectiveness of treatment over time.