Original Article

Cultural Reflections of the Expressions of the Anxiety of Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder


  • Mehmet ASOĞLU
  • İsmail KARKA
  • Meltem GÖBELEK
  • Hakim ÇELİK
  • Hatice TAKATAK

Received Date: 31.07.2017 Accepted Date: 24.08.2017 Bezmialem Science 2018;6(4):242-247


Cultural factors in the biopsychosocial context have a significant impact on the outward reflection of the symptoms associated with mental state. One of the important characteristics of traditional societies is that they are prone to express their spiritual problems with body language. In this study, we aimed to guide the physicians in the diagnosis stage by considering the expressions of complaints of patients who have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which is common in psychiatric outpatient clinics, in a society where traditional and cultural characteristics predominate.


This retrospective descriptive study was carried out on 50 consecutive patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder referred to Harran University Medical School Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic.


The patients who participated in the study stated their complaints via 33 different expressions, 15 of which were physical in nature (46%), 12 were emotional in nature (36%), and the remaining 6 (18%) were related to the cognitive field. The frequencies of the expressions were most frequent for emotional symptoms (92%), followed by physical symptoms (76%) and cognitive symptoms (44%). Although the frequency of reporting for physical symptoms was significantly higher in females (p<0.05), the frequency of reporting for cognitive symptoms was significantly higher in males (p<0.05). Reported frequency for emotional expressions did not differ according to gender status.


As a result, cultural factors affect the way in which anxiety is expressed in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder, especially with the diversity of somatic expressions.

Keywords: Generalized anxiety disorder, forms of expression of anxieties, cultural characteristics