"Somatization Disorder" characterizes frequent, varied, and long-lasting somatic complaints that have no basis in physical dysfunction. Somatizers do not accept the psychological basis of their problems and insist on obtaining medical help. The severity of Somatization Disorder is assessed from a total count of any of the following: complaints, search for medical treatment, use of medication, or lifestyle adjustments, for different symptoms.
The Mehrabian Panic and Somatization scales are designed to provide brief, though reliable and valid, assessments of degree of panic-like or somatization-like problems. Since each of the scales yields a continuous set of scores, severity of each disorder is assessed from the degree of extremity of scores on the corresponding scale.
It is advantageous to use the present Panic and Somatization scales along with Mehrabian's (1994b) Trait Anxiety and Depression scales, because all four scales are positively intercorrelated (Mehrabian, 1997). Combined use of the four scales should thus provide greater confidence in making inferences regarding severity of Panic and Somatization disorders.
The Panic Scale contains 8 items and the Somatization Scale contains 10 items. Scale items are written in three different questionnaire formats and items of the two scales are intermixed when presented to subjects. The manual provides formulas for computing a total score for each scale.
The Panic and Somatization scales are intended primarily for experimental use. In the event they are employed in clinical settings, it is strongly advisable that findings based on the present instruments be checked against additional data from alternative tests and interview materials.
Convergent and construct validation data are reviewed in the manual (Mehrabian, 1994a). Relevant data also were reviewed by Mehrabian (2001, pp. 81-83).
Mehrabian, A. (1994a). Manual for the Panic and Somatization Scales. (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road, Monterey, CA, USA 93940).
Mehrabian, A. (1994b). Manual for the Mehrabian Trait Anxiety and Depression Scales. (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road, Monterey, CA, USA 93940).
Mehrabian, A. (1995). Relationships among three general approaches to personality description. Journal of Psychology, vol. 129, pp. 565-581.
Mehrabian, A. (1995-96). Distinguishing depression and trait anxiety in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, vol. 15, pp. 133-144.
Mehrabian, A. (1997). Relationships among measures of Trait Anxiety, Depression, Panic, Somatization, Alcohol Use, and Drug Use in the general population. Unpublished manuscript, UCLA.
Mehrabian, A. (2001). General relations among drug use, alcohol use, and major indexes of psychopathology. Journal of Psychology,135, 71-86.
Mehrabian, A., & Bernath, M.S. (1991). Factorial composition of commonly used self-report depression inventories: Relationships with basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Research in Personality, vol. 25, pp. 262-275.
Mehrabian, A., & O'Reilly, E. (1980). Analysis of personality measures in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 38, pp. 492-503.