Interoceptive Awareness and Self-Regulation Contribute to Psychosomatic Competence as Measured by a New Inventory

Author: Christian Fazekas 1, Alexander Avian 2, Rita Noehrer 3, Franziska Matzer 3, Christian Vajda 3, Hans Hannich 3 4, Aljoscha Neubauer 5
Author Information:
1 Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 3, 8036, Graz, Austria.
2 Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
3 Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 3, 8036, Graz, Austria.
4 Institute of Medical Psychology, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.
5 Department of Differential Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Karl-Franzens University Graz, Graz, Austria.
Conference/Journal: Wien Klin Wochenschr
Date published: 2020 May 19
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s00508-020-01670-5 , Word Count: 225

PMID: 32430611 DOI: 10.1007/s00508-020-01670-5
Background: The interrelation of interoception, cognitive appraisal of bodily signals and conscious self-regulatory behavior is insufficiently understood although it may be relevant for health and disease. Therefore, it was intended to develop a novel self-report measure targeting this link.

Methods: Item development was theoretically based on the multidimensional conceptual framework of the psychosomatic intelligence hypothesis and included an iterative process of refinement of items. In a preliminary test a principal components analysis (PROMAX rotation) and item analysis were calculated for item reduction. In the field test an item response theory approach was used for development of final scales and items. For validation purposes, associations with established measures of related constructs were analyzed.

Results: The final 44-item questionnaire consisted of 6 interrelated scales: (1) interoceptive awareness, (2) mentalization, (3) body-related cognitive congruence, (4) body-related health literacy, (5) general self-regulation, and (6) stress experience and stress regulation. Psychometric properties of this instrument demonstrated good model fit, internal consistency and construct validity. According to the validation, the final instrument measures a form of competence rather than intelligence and was termed the psychosomatic competence inventory.

Conclusion: Interoceptive awareness and conscious body-related self-regulation seem to jointly contribute to a basic competence which may serve homeostatic/allostatic control; however, further research is needed to confirm the reported preliminary findings in a large-scale test.

Keywords: Interoception; Psychophysiology; Psychosomatic medicine; Questionnaire design; Self-control.