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Vol. 71, No. 6, 2002
Issue release date: November–December 2002
Psychother Psychosom 2002;71:326–332

A Community-Based Psychoeducational Group Approach to Hypochondriasis

Bouman T.K.
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

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Background: This open trial investigates the feasibility and effectiveness of a cognitive-educational approach to hypochondriasis in a self-referred community sample. Method: Twenty-seven of 43 interested applicants fulfilled DSM-criteria for hypochondriasis and resembled a hypochondriacal reference group according to the Groningen Illness Attitude Scale. Subjects participated in small groups for six 2-hour sessions aimed at educating them about hypochondriasis. Results: The results showed that the 21 completers improved between pre- and post-test on parameters for hypochondriasis and depression, and that this improvement was maintained at 4 weeks and 6 months follow-up. Six subjects dropped out for various reasons, showing no decrease in relevant variables. Conclusion: Hypochondriacal subjects can be reached outside mental health settings, and a psychoeducational group approach may be an acceptable and effective method to reduce hypochondriacal psychopathology.

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