Living conditions and psychosomatic complaints in Swedish schoolchildren.
ABSTRACT The proportion of Swedish schoolchildren that reports psychosomatic complaints has increased during recent decades, parallel to major structural changes in Swedish society.
To investigate the association of psychosomatic complaints in relation to household socio-economic conditions.
Cross-sectional study based on data from child supplements linked to nationally representative household surveys in Sweden during 2000-2003, covering a sample of 5390 children aged 10-18 y. Symptom variables were based on child interviews, while data from parental interviews were used to create socio-economic variables.
Girls more often reported headache and recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) than boys, and these differences became more pronounced with age. Economic stress in the household was associated with headache (OR 1.21, p<0.05), RAP (OR 1.46, p<0.001) as well as difficulties falling asleep (OR 1.35, p<0.01), while there were no consistent associations between symptoms and social class or unemployed parents. Children in single-parent families consistently reported somewhat more symptoms than children in two-parent families (OR 1.26 for at least two of the three symptoms, p<0.05).
Economic stress, but not social class, was a significant but moderate risk factor for all three psychosomatic symptoms. It is possible that a growing proportion of families in economic stress has contributed to the parallel increase in reported psychosomatic complaints among Swedish schoolchildren. Further studies are needed to clarify the relation between lack of money, relational strain/support and psychosomatic complaints.
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ABSTRACT: To identify the most common physical complaints in a sample of adolescent school refusers with comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders. Whether somatic symptoms are more likely to be associated with high levels of anxiety or high levels of depression was also explored. Forty-four adolescents in a treatment study were evaluated at baseline with structured psychiatric interviews and measures of anxiety, depression, and somatization. The most common somatic complaints were in the autonomic and gastrointestinal categories. In simple regression analyses, anxiety level as measured with the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and depression level as measured with the Beck Depression Inventory each significantly predicted the severity of somatic symptoms. The correlation between percentage of days absent from school and severity of somatic symptoms approached significance (r = .27, p = .074). Knowledge that somatic complaints are commonly an expression of underlying anxiety and depression may facilitate more rapid referral for psychiatric assessment and treatment and thereby help avoid unnecessary medical workups and sequelae from school refusal.Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 06/1997; 36(5):661-8. · 6.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To investigate the role of different types of social relations in adolescent health inequalities. Cross sectional study. Measures included family social class, indices of social relations to parents, friends, teachers, and school. Random sample of 55 schools in Denmark. Nationally representative sample of 5205 students from grades 5, 7, and 9. Self reported physical and psychological symptoms. Adolescents from families of lower socioeconomic position reported more physical and psychological symptoms. This ranged from 40% increased odds for multiple physical symptoms among less advantaged girls, to 90% increased odds of multiple psychological symptoms for less advantaged boys. Relationships with friends or teachers showed small social class differences, while strong and consistent social class differences were found in the ways adolescents reported their own and their parents relations to school. For example, girls from families of lower socioeconomic position were more than four times as likely to report their parents unwilling to attend school meetings (odds ratio=4.54, 95% confidence intervals: 2.68 to 7.69). Poorer relations with parents, peers, teachers, and school were all associated with worse health. Patterns of parent-child relations with the school were the greatest contributors to socioeconomic differences in physical and psychological symptoms. The school is one of the first important social institutions directly experienced by children and socioeconomic differences in how adolescents and their parents relate to the school may be part of the cascade of early life influences that can lead to later social and health disadvantage.Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 10/2003; 57(9):692-8. · 3.39 Impact Factor
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