Relationship between hypochondriacal concerns and personality dimensions and traits in a military population

Russell Noyes, David B. Watson, Elena M. Letuchy, Susan L. Longley, Donald W. Black, Caroline P. Carney, Bradley N. Doebbeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Our aim was to examine the relationship between personality dimensions and hypochondriacal concerns and somatic symptoms in a military population. The Schedule of Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality along with measures of hypochondriacal concerns and somatic symptoms were administered to 602 military veterans who had been on active duty during the 1991 Gulf War. Factor analyses identified six separable dimensions - two of hypochondriacal concerns, two of somatic symptoms, and two of possible mechanisms of symptom generation - for study. Multiple regression models determined the proportion of variation in these measures of somatic distress explained by personality scales. Personality measures explained between 26% and 38% of the variance in hypochondriacal concerns and somatic symptoms, and Negative Temperament accounted for most of this. Moderately strong positive correlations were observed between trait scales Mistrust, Low Self-Esteem, and Eccentric Perceptions and the various measures of somatic distress. Thus, when Negative Temperament was taken into account, few significant correlations between personality measures and hypochondriacal concerns or somatic symptoms remained. Negative temperament or neuroticism is strongly associated with hypochondriacal concerns. Important features of hypochondriasis and somatic distress appear to lie within the domain of personality. It remains for future research to show whether negative temperament is a vulnerability factor for hypochondriasis or hypochondriasis is itself a personality disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypochondriacal concerns
  • Negative temperament
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality dimensions
  • Somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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