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AIDS Care. 2008 Jul;20(6):667-76. doi: 10.1080/09540120701687042.

Psychosocial predictors of somatic symptoms in adolescents of parents with HIV: a six-year longitudinal study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, US.


The objective of this study was to identify salient parent and adolescent psychosocial factors related to somatic symptoms in adolescents. As part of a larger intervention study conducted in New York, 409 adolescents were recruited from 269 parents with HIV. A longitudinal model predicted adolescent somatization scores six years after baseline assessment. Adolescent somatic symptoms were assessed at baseline and at 3-month intervals for the first two years and then at 6-month intervals using the Brief Symptom Inventory. Baseline data from adolescents and parents were used to predict adolescent somatic symptoms. Variables related to increased adolescent somatic symptoms over six years included being younger and female; an increased number of adolescent medical hospitalizations; more stressful life events; adolescent perception of a highly rejecting parenting style; more parent-youth conflict; no experience of parental death; and parental distress over their own pain symptoms. Our findings extend the literature by virtue of the longitudinal design; inclusion of both parent and child variables in one statistical model; identification of study participants by their potentially stressful living condition rather than by disease or somatic symptom status; and inclusion of serious parental illness and death in the study.

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