Hypochondriasis and Somatization in College Women: A Personal Projects Analysis

Paul Karoly, Len Lecci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Although the descriptive features of hypochondriasis and somatization have been widely studied, the motivational correlates (goal representations) of individuals manifesting abnormal illness patterns have not been considered. The Personal Projects Analysis method (Little, 1983) was used to contrast the health and nonhealth goals of female undergraduates. Subjects selected 10 goals for evaluation along a series of dimensions. When health pursuits alone were examined, hypochondriasis on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was found to correlate directly with goal appraisal dimensions subsumed by an anxiety-absorption factor and inversely with dimensions characterizing rewardingness, thus suggesting a negativity of health goal construal. Somatizers also pursued more health-related projects than did nonsomatizers; nonhealth goal cognition did not relate as strongly to hypochondriasis. Finally, using discriminant function analysis, goal representations were shown to significantly and substantially differentiate somatizers from nonsomatizers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1993


  • Personal Projects Analysis
  • goal cognition
  • hypochondriasis
  • somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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