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Invited Commentary |

Assessing Somatic Symptoms in Clinical Practice

Arthur J. Barsky, MD1,2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
2Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):407-408. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12177.
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The interesting study by Gierk et al1 tests the psychometric properties of a brief, self-report somatic symptom inventory and raises several broader questions about the sources of somatic symptoms and the use of symptom inventories in clinical practice. As the authors point out, routine clinical assessment of somatic symptoms has many functions: although obviously serving as guideposts to aid in diagnosis, they are also important in their own right as indexes of suffering and distress and can be used to assess the effectiveness of treatment over time.

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