Prevalence and Predictors of Somatization in Peruvian Undergraduate Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Angel Christopher Zegarra-López, Giancarlo Luna-Victoria, Daniella Romero-Montenegro, Brian Florentino-Santisteban, Diego Eduardo Prieto-Molinari, Mitchell Montoya-Cuadrao

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo (Contribución a Revista)revisión exhaustiva


The COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on mental health. Multiple studies report the alarming prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress-related conditions due to the lockdown measures. Nevertheless, somatization has been an overlooked topic in current literature despite its strong relationship with most mental health conditions. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of somatic symptoms and their associated factors in a sample of 3218 undergraduate students from Lima, Peru. A cross-sectional design was carried out. The prevalence of somatic symptoms was measured with the PHQ-15. As predictors of somatic symptom severity, we included psychopathological (depression, anxiety, and stress), psychological (perceived social support, resilience, satisfaction with life, and academic self-efficacy), and sociodemographic (e.g., age, sex, employment status, relationship status, daily hours of sleep) variables. A generalized linear model from a binomial family and a logit link function were applied based on a Factor Score Regression approach, with half of the sample presenting moderate-to-severe somatic symptoms. Anxiety was the strongest predictor of somatic symptom severity, followed by academic self-efficacy. Significant differences were found regarding sex, relationship status, daily hours of sleep and COVID-19 risk-related variables. In conclusion, interventions on reducing anxiety and promoting academic self-efficacy may have a stronger impact on somatic symptom severity and should focus on more vulnerable specific demographic groups such as females.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo15576
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
EstadoPublicada - dic. 2022


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