A tracer condition, to be used for clinical epidemiologic examination of psychosociogenic illness, must be common and clearly identifiable, distinguishable from concomitant physical problems, and found in general care. These criteria are met by couvade syndrome, the seeking of care for pregnancy-related symptoms by the mates of expectant women. Records of the mates of 267 postpartum women, representing a systemic sample of all births in a health maintenance organization of 36,000, were rated for the presence of nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, and other symptoms. Each patient was his own control. Sixty men (225 of 1000) sought care for couvade syndrome; they had a twofold increase in visits (p < 0.001); had four times more symptoms than during control periods (p < 0.001); and received twice as many prescriptions for medication as the men without this syndrome (p < 0.05). The health care providers did not tend to recognize the 'expectant' status of these patients or note the presence of the syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine