The association between somatization and perceived ability: Roles in dysmenorrhea among Israeli Arab adolescents

Sari Goldstein-Ferber, Michal Granot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ObJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate whether somatization and attitudes toward menstruation predict the incidence of pain intensity and dysmenorrhea among Israeli Arab adolescent females. METHODS: Participants were 160 Israeli Arab adolescents, including 50 Muslims, 50 Christians, and 60 Druze. A 20-item questionnaire was used to assess attitudes regarding menstruation. The short version of the Brief Symptom Inventory was used to measure the level of somatization. RESULTS: Factor analysis of the Attitudes Toward Menstruation Instrument revealed two significant composites: perceived ability and impurity during menstruation. High levels of somatization predicted pain intensity and low levels of perceived ability predicted the prevalence of dysmenorrhea. Although the Israeli Muslim adolescents revealed higher levels of somatization as compared with their Christian and Druze counterparts and the Druze revealed the lowest levels of perceived ability compared with the other subgroups, no significant role for ethnicity and impurity was found. No differences were found between groups in scores of menstrual pain and prevalence of dysmenorrhea. Higher levels of somatization and lower levels of perceived ability, as well as a greater portion of Muslim and Druze and higher levels of religiosity, were found among rural residents. CONCLUSIONS: The role of cultural variables and personality traits in the complexity of dysmenorrhea as a socio-bio- psychological phenomenon is proposed in light of contemporary interactive models. It is suggested that within the Israeli Arab minorities the impact of cultural background on health affects more the perceptual and cognitive levels and are not generalized to overt behavior and morbidity such as dysmenorrhea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Adolescence
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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