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Psychosomatic Findings in Musician Patients at a Department of Hand Surgery

Claudia Spahn, Nikolaus Ell, Karin Seidenglanz
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 16 Number 4: Page 144 (December 2001)

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Abstract: In the present study, the degree and frequency of symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as signs of somatoform disorders were ascertained in former musician patients of a department of hand surgery by means of standardized psychometric instruments. It was also the goal of the study to find out to what extent musicians seeking somatically oriented therapy ascribe significance to psychosocial factors regarding the etiology and the course of their ailments, and to what extent they feel psychologically stressed by their somatic symptoms. Sixty-nine musicians were evaluated. The results of the study showed a low frequency of significant ratings for depression and anxiety compared with clinical and nonclinical populations of nonmusicians, whereas there was a clear tendency toward somatization in the sample investigated. A fourth of the musicians had ratings compatible with those of psychosomatic patients, and can be classified as an at-risk group for a somatoform disorder. Three fourths of the musicians evinced a somatically oriented subjective ailment model. This means that, from their point of view, psychosocial factors play but a minor role in the etiology and the course of somatic symptoms. Three fourths of the musicians, however, stated in retrospective evaluation that they had felt psychologically stressed by their physical symptoms. All in all, the results suggest that psychosomatic aspects play a decisive role in somatic problems of musicians, and that it would seem particularly important for hand surgeons to take note of psychosocial aspects in the etiology and the course of their symptoms.

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