Stressful Life Events and Somatic Complaints in a Nigerian Adult Sample

  • Ben C. Agoha
  • Ugochi llobi


The study was a cross-sectional survey designed to determine whether the experience of stressful life events and gender would predict somatic complaints. It was thus hypothesised that somatisation would be predicted by stressful life events; and that the effect of stressful life events on somatisation would vary across gender. A total of 1 02 (men = 58, women = 44) non-academic staff of a Nigerian university, drawn on the basis of availability and accessibility participated in the study. They completed and returned the Stressful Life Events Inventory (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) and Enugu Somatisation Scale (Ebigbo, 1986) individually administered on them. The results of a multiple regression analysis of the data showed that stressful life events accounted for over 22 of the variance in somatisation (adjusted R2 = .22; F = 2.55, p < .001). Gender and interaction effect of stressful life events and gender was negligible, thus confirming the first but not the second hypothesis. Implications of the findings were discussed.