Is hypochondriasis a significant problem among polish adolescents? An attempt of assessment of severe form of health anxiety in polish population

Janusz Kocjan


[Background] Hallmark features of health anxiety include persistent concern that one may have or contract an illness. People with health anxiety persist in looking for possible organic causes for their symptoms despite the negative results of medical examinations. It is estimated that 5 percent of the general population suffers hypochondria. However, still is little known about prelevance of hypochondriasis in polish population. [Aim of the study] The aim of this study was to investigate health anxiety level among polish adolescents and to examine the self-reported experience of health anxiety in medical students compared with non-medical students. [Material and methods] A total of 510 students aged 18–24 were anonymously examined. Health anxiety was measured using a polish language questionnaire known as the Short Health Anxiety Inventory (SHAI). [Results] Mean values of SHAI total score were as follows: overall sample: 15,7; medical group: 19,2 non-medical group:10,5; II year students: 22,8; VI year students: 14,7. Elevated health anxiety was reported by 26,7 percent of the sample, with reference to 18,8% of medical population and 8% of non-medical participants. Significant differences in health anxiety between medical and medical populatioan, as well as, between II year and VI year medical students were also found.

[Conclusions] The study provides evidence about moderate intensification of health anxiety among polish adolescent. Health anxiety level was significantly higher among medical students versus non-medical students group.


health anxiety, hypochiondriasis, SHAI, polish population, polish adolescents

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