Personality, cognitive factors, and learning appear to be involved in the etiology of somatoform disorders.
Some researchers have suggested that people with histrionic personality traits are more likely to develop somatoform disorders. Histrionic people enjoy being the center of attention. They tend to be self-focused, excitable, highly open to suggestion, very emotional, and dramatic.
Researchers have proposed that several cognitive factors contribute to somatoform disorders:
People with somatoform disorders may learn to adopt a sick role because they are reinforced for being sick. Rewards that help to maintain sickness include attention and sympathy from others and avoidance of work and family challenges.