Social position and functional somatic disorders: The DanFunD study

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND AIM: It is generally accepted that functional somatic disorders (FSDs) are a product of biological, psychological, and social factors. Social position might be part of this complex, but the literature on this issue is currently heterogeneous and inconsistent. The aim of the present study was - in a population-based cohort - to test the hypothesis that lower social position would be associated with higher a risk of FSD.

METHOD: The association between social position and FSD was examined in a cross-sectional study with various measures of social position (education as measured by vocational training; employment; cohabitation; subjective social status) and delimitations of FSD (irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, bodily distress syndrome, and symptom profiles). The associations were analyzed using logistic regressions to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Each social measure was analyzed independently and was adjusted for age and sex.

RESULTS: Lower levels of vocational training, being unemployed, and living alone were associated with higher risk of FSD, regardless of the FSD delimitation. There was also a significant negative association between subjective evaluated social status and FSD. The associations remained after multiple adjustments, and seemed to be strongest for the more severe FSD-types.

CONCLUSIONS: Lower social position is associated with higher risk of FSD, especially the more severe FSD delimitations, which might constitute an especially vulnerable group. However, the mechanisms behind the relations remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesScandinavian Journal of Public Health. Supplement
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • education
  • Social position
  • DanFunD
  • employment
  • cohabitation
  • functional somatic disorders
  • functional somatic syndromes
  • bodily distress syndrome
  • epidemiology
  • subjective social status


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