Burnout and hostility as determinants of somatic complaints in Nigerian adults

  • Benedict. C. Agoha
  • David O. Igbokwe
  • Lucia K. Nwabueze
  • Uju S. Agoha
  • Elizabeth. I. Olowookere
  • Ayotunde Elegbeleye
Keywords: Somatisation; Burnout; Hostility; Stress; Enugu Somatisation Scale.


This study was conducted to examine the role of burnout and hostility in somatic complaints. The participants were 277 working adults who ranged between 20-60 years in age (Mean= 32.04 years, SD = 22.74. Hundred and forty-four of the participants (i.e., 52%) were male, and hundred and thirty-three (i.e., 45%) were female. Somatisation was measured using the Enugu Somatization Scale (Ebigbo, 1982); burnout and hostility were measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the hostility subscale of the Symptoms checklist-90R. The result of a hierarchical Multiple Regression analysis revealed that somatisation was significantly explained by emotional exhaustion (β=.47, ρ<.001), hostility (β=.24, ρ<.001), and reduced personal accomplishment (β=.11, ρ<.05). A significant interaction effect (β= .29, ρ<.001) was found between hostility and reduced personal accomplishment. Furthermore, all the independent variables entered the model for head somatisation, but reduced personal accomplishment did not play important role in body somatisation. These findings show that emotion and cognition play significant roles in functional somatic complaints. These should be taken in to account in clinical formulation and treatment planning.


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eISSN: 1596-9231