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Somatoform Disorders

  • By: Laura A. Webber
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Soma and somato are both Greek words that mean body. Disorder means an ailment in the body. Thus, a somatoform disorder is a physical illness or illness in the body. Somatoform disorders vary by type and frequency of occurrence among school-age children. Depending on the type of disorder and age and gender of the person, prevalence rates range from less than 1% to 15%. Somatoform disorders rarely begin before age six years, and usually begin in late childhood and early adolescence.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSMIV), somatoform disorders include (American Psychiatric Association, 1994):

  • Somatization disorder
  • Undifferentiated somatoform disorder
  • Conversion disorder
  • Pain disorder
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Body dysmorphic disorder

All the somatoform disorders result in significant problems at school, home, or in other social situations.

In somatization disorder, pain or ...

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