Living conditions and psychosomatic complaints in Swedish schoolchildren

Stockholm University, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
Acta Paediatrica (Impact Factor: 1.67). 08/2006; 95(8):929-34. DOI: 10.1080/08035250600636545
Source: PubMed


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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    • "These findings are in accordance with previously published studies: Ostberg et al. investigated headache, abdominal pain and difficulty in falling asleep in Swedish schoolchildren aged 10–18 years. They found that girls reported headache and recurrent abdominal pain twice as much as boys, and that economic stress but not social class was a significant determinant of somatic symptoms in Swedish children [22] Kelly et al. investigated psychosomatic symptoms among school children 11–17 years of age in Ireland. Of the somatic symptoms, headache was the most common among both boys and girls, with a steep increase in reports of headaches among girls with age. "
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    ABSTRACT: Headache is the most common cause for chronic or recurrent pain in childhood and adolescence. Chronic pain may have a long-term effect on adolescents. It might contribute to functional limitations, such as poor school attendance, and it may adversely affect development of healthy social relationships. The aim of our study was to examine the cross- ethnic variation in the prevalence of headache in a non- clinical sample of adolescents in Northern Israel and to learn about its association to other somatic complaints. A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was presented to 2,088 tenth grade students attending 19 high-schools in Northern Israel (all the public high schools within two districts). Participants were Jews and Arabs, the latter including Muslim, Christians, and Druze, aged 15 to 16. Parental and student consent was obtained from all participants. The study was approved by the IRB of our institution. All 2088 questionnaires were returned although only 2019 were usable and analyzed. Arab adolescents comprised 55% (1117) of the analyzed sample and Jews 45% (902), 56% of participants were girls. Of the Arab participants, 18.6% reported having frequent headaches (girls 25.3%, boys 9.1%, P<0.0001) much less than their Jewish peers (P<0.0001) among whom 27.9% reported having frequent headaches (girls 35.6%, boys 19% P<0.0001). Other somatic complaints such as abdominal pain, palpitations, disordered sleep and fatigue were more frequent in adolescents (Jews and Arabs, girls and boys) who suffered from headaches than in their peers who did not report having headaches (P<0.0001), the same pattern observed in the Jewish and the Arab group. Headache is a frequent complaint among adolescents in Northern Israel. Jewish adolescents reported having headaches more frequently than their Arab peers. Those who suffered from frequent headaches also reported having significantly more other somatic complaints than adolescents without headaches. Girls had more somatic complaints then boys in the two ethnic groups.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · The Journal of Headache and Pain
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    • "Scotland results respectively ) ; Santinello et al . , 2009 ; Sweeting & West , 2003 ; Torsheim et al . , 2006 ) . Of the remaining analyses from ' higher - scoring ' studies , two showed ' Type 1 ' trends ( Heinrich et al . , 2009 ; Sundblad et al . , 2007 ) and four a mixed ( ' Type 4 ' ) pattern ( Haugland et al . , 2001 ( Norway and Poland ) ; Ostberg et al . , 2006 ; Petersen et al . , 2003 ) ."
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    ABSTRACT: For asthma and psychological morbidity, it is well established that higher prevalence among males in childhood is replaced by higher prevalence among females by adolescence. This review investigates whether there is evidence for a similar emerging female 'excess' in relation to a broad range of physical morbidity measures. Establishing whether this pattern is generalised or health outcome-specific will further understandings of the aetiology of gender differences in health. Databases (Medline; Embase; CINAHL; PsycINFO; ERIC) were searched for English language studies (published 1992-2010) presenting physical morbidity prevalence data for males and females, for at least two age-bands within the age-range 4-17 years. A three-stage screening process (initial sifting; detailed inspection; extraction of full papers), was followed by study quality appraisals. Of 11 245 identified studies, 41 met the inclusion criteria. Most (n = 31) presented self-report survey data (five longitudinal, 26 cross-sectional); 10 presented routinely collected data (GP/hospital statistics). Extracted data, supplemented by additional data obtained from authors of the included studies, were used to calculate odds ratios of a female excess, or female:male incident rate ratios as appropriate. To test whether these changed with age, the values were logged and regressed on age in random effects meta-regressions. These showed strongest evidence of an emerging/increasing female excess for self-reported measures of headache, abdominal pain, tiredness, migraine and self-assessed health. Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, based on routinely collected data, did not show a significant emerging/increasing female excess. For most physical morbidity measures reviewed, the evidence broadly points towards an emerging/increasing female excess during the transition to adolescence, although results varied by morbidity measure and study design, and suggest that this may occur at a younger age than previously thought.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Social Science [?] Medicine
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    • "Mental health is a central resource in the sense that it is closely associated to other areas of life and the possibility of accomplishing life goals. In Sweden several studies suggest that the mental health of young people in the general population has deteriorated in recent times (Östberg et al. 2006;NBHW 2009). @BULLET The overall conclusion concerning the welfare dimensions studied, is that children in care in general have less access to resources than their peers in the normal population. "
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    ABSTRACT: In a study on living conditions among children, 13–18 years old (n = 272) in on-going foster and residential care, concepts from welfare theory and empirical research are applied. We argue that using a welfare perspective and the concept of level of living when assessing looked after children's situation provides several advantages. From this perspective, children are agents for whom access to resources will influence their discretion and possibility to act. By using concepts from welfare research and replicated national surveys of living conditions on a population of placed children, we can assess the extent to which these children enjoy such a standard while in care. In other words, it is possible to assess the compensatory capacity of state care for a population of children that has been recognized as deprived in terms of welfare resources in their birth families. The overall conclusion concerning the welfare dimensions studied is that children in care in general have less access to resources than their peers in the normal population. This holds particularly true for children in residential care, where the differences are substantial. In other words, the care context tends to differentiate the extent to which society acts to compensate for the initial disadvantaged position from which children in care often originate
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · European Journal of Social Work
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