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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


AVILA, Lazslo; DONATI, F.  and  CORDEIRO, J.A.. What is lost when psychosomatics is replaced by somatization?. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2012, vol.13, n.1, pp.130-141. ISSN 1645-0086.

To critically review scientific publications from the last five years to identify the main themes linked to psychosomatics and somatization with the purpose of analyzing the meaning of tendencies manifested by these themes and their distribution. A systematic review of abstracts linked to the MEDLINE, LILACS and SciELO databases from 2004 to 2008, using MeSH, the structured vocabulary proposed by the National Library of Medicine, to create 38 content categories in order to classify the papers. Principal component statistical analysis was performed to indicate the structuring order of the themes. We found an expressive dominance of the use of the term ‘somatization’, particularly in MEDLINE, with an accentuated tendency to substitute ‘psychosomatics’ and an overall predominance of psychiatry over other specialties or approaches. Many different perspectives on psychosomatic phenomena are progressively becoming less significant with a concentration of research themes in only four large clusters of categories: 1) ‘psychiatry + psychosomatics’; 2) ‘psychiatry - psychosomatics’; 3) ‘medical specialties + treatment - subjectivity + scales + psychosomatics - psychiatry’ and 4) ‘psychiatry × medical specialties + subjectivity + psychosomatics + psychiatry × psychosomatics - psychiatry’. We demonstrate that the underlying tendency of present-day research is to eradicate the prefix ‘psycho’ from psychosomatic studies, with the remaining expression ‘somatization’ becoming more and more indicative of a strictly biological, physiological and positivistic viewpoint.

Keywords : Classification; Psychosomatic Medicine; Psychosomatics; Somatization; MeSh; Principal Component Analysis.

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