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Keywords:

  • mother;
  • cross-cultural comparison;
  • somatization

The Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ), a screening instrument developed for psychiatric disorders in developing countries, was administered to 149 mothers, half of whom where non-white, attending a well-baby clinic in Manchester, United Kingdom. Psychiatric interview confirmed that high scorers on the SRQ could be given DSM-III diagnoses of anxiety and depression, but the cut-off point on SRQ for being a definite psychiatric case was found to be 7/8, higher than previous validation studies. This was the same for Asians as well as white mothers. Comparison of somatic versus psychological scores between Asian and white mothers showed no significant difference across the range of total SRQ scores. Over half of the mothers who were psychiatric cases were attending their doctors and all the Asian women doing so were attending for somatic symptoms. This study suggests that when measured in a well-baby clinic, somatic and psychological symptoms are reported equally frequently by white and Asian immigrant women in the United Kingdom but somatic symptoms predominate when Asian women consult a doctor.