A case–control study of self-reported health, quality-of-life and general functioning among recent immigrants and age- and sex-matched Swedish-born controls
To assess patterns of illness behaviour in immigrant Greeks, 50 Greek and 50 Swedish consecutive patients were examined by a Swedish general practitioner and a Greek psychotherapist at a primary health centre in Stockholm. In addition to a physical examination an overall psychiatric assessment of the patients was made, partly with the help of rating scales. Psycho-social stressors were also rated. In spite of modest somatic and psychiatric findings, the majority of the Greek patients had been on long-term sick-leave and none of them could be rehabilitated. This illness behaviour, with passivity as the most notable response to pain, was very evident in the Greek group and was assessed as being strongly related to psycho-social stressors as well as to iatrogenic damage. All of the patients whose sick-leave had been of short duration prior to their first visit to the health centre could be rehabilitated. Psycho-social counselling given to the Greek patients in their native tongue had only marginal effect.