This study investigated associations between inflammatory markers, sickness behaviour, health anxiety and self-rated health in 311 consecutive primary care patients. Poor self-rated health was associated with high sickness behaviour (ρ = 0.28, P < 0.001; ρ = 0.42, P = 0.003) and high health anxiety (ρ = 0.31, P < 0.001; ρ = –0.32, P = 0.003). High levels of interleukin 6 were associated with poor self-rated health in men (ρ = 0.26, P = 0.009). Low levels of interleukin-6 were associated with poor self-rated health in women (ρ = –0.15, P = 0.04), but this association was non-significant when adjusted for health anxiety (ρ = –0.08, P = 0.31). These results are consistent with the theory that interoceptive processes draw on both inflammatory mediators and the state of sickness behaviour in inferring health state.
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- health anxiety
- self-rated health
- sickness behaviour