A Behavioral Characteristics Observational Measure of Youth with Somatic Symptom Disorder during Physical Rehabilitation

Sharon Barak, Jana Landa, Maya Gerner, Etzyona Eisenstein, Chen Arzoni Bardach, Tamar Silberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Youth with somatic symptom disorder (SSD) present unique behavioral characteristics. Aims: To develop and examine the psychometric properties of an observational measure of behavioral characteristics for youth with SSD (the Somatization Behavioral Characteristics Questionnaire, SBCQ). Methods: N = 80 youth with SSD and 31 with non-SSD impairments participated in this study (age = 13.91 ± 2.72, 14 ± 3.21, respectively; females: n = 61, 14, respectively). Symptom intensity (Children’s Somatization Inventory-24; CSI-24), functional disability (Six-Minute Walk Test, walking rate of perceived exertion), and the SBCQ were assessed. SBCQ reliability and validity were examined. Results: SBCQ had acceptable reliability in both groups (Cronbach’s α > 0.7). Exploratory factor analysis in the SSD group revealed a three-cluster solution. Significant associations were found between the SBCQ, CSI-24, and functional disability. Both groups differed in the prevalence of all SBCQ behaviors. The greatest differences were in the mismatch between etiology and clinical presentation, and in the exhibited lack of trust in the therapist and “la belle indifference”. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the SBCQ has moderate accuracy in discriminating between the two groups (area under the curve = 0.80). Sensitivity and specificity were 82.5% and 73.3%, respectively. Conclusions: The SBCQ is psychometrically sound. Findings may aid in developing sensitive assessment tools for SSD and continuing education for therapists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2078
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • behavior
  • child somatization inventory
  • children
  • pain
  • rehabilitation


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