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Medically unexplained symptoms: perceptions of physicians in primary health care.

Journal article
Authors Tora Woivalin
Gunilla Krantz
Taina Mäntyranta
Karin C. Ringsberg
Published in Family practice
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 199-203
ISSN 0263-2136
Publication year 2004
Published at
Pages 199-203
Language en
Keywords Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, Counseling, methods, Female, Focus Groups, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Education as Topic, methods, Physician-Patient Relations, Primary Health Care, methods, Social Support, Somatoform Disorders, therapy, Sweden
Subject categories Public health medicine research areas


BACKGROUND: Patients presenting with multiple symptoms represent a substantial part of a GP's total work load. At the same time, these patients account for the majority of the people on long-term sick-leave in Sweden today. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore GPs' perceptions and ways of managing patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). METHODS: Five focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 27 GPs. In the collection and analysis of data, a phenomenographic approach was used. RESULTS: The GPs described how they used four different approaches to manage patients with MUS: a biomedical, a psychological, an educational and a psychosocial approach. Different approaches were used, depending on the patient and the situation, and the GPs even switched approach when working with the same patient. CONCLUSIONS: In their work with patients with MUS, GPs need support and further training to improve the way the biomedical frame of reference is integrated with the humanistic perspective.

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