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World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 21;15(27):3405-10.

Peptic ulcer and childhood adversities experienced by working-aged people.

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  • 1Kangasala Health Center, and Medical School, University of Tampere, FI 33014, Finland. markku.sumanen@uta.fi



To study the association between self-reported peptic ulcer and childhood adversities.


The Health and Social Support Study (HeSSup) population consisted of a stratified random sample drawn from the Finnish Population Register in four age groups: 20-24, 30-34, 40-44 and 50-54. The survey was carried out by postal questionnaire during 1998, with a response rate of 40.0%. A follow-up questionnaire was sent during 2003 to all those who responded to the first. Altogether 19,626 individuals returned the follow-up questionnaire; a response rate of 75.8%. The subjects were asked whether a doctor had told them that they have or have had peptic ulcer. The analyses covered those who responded affirmatively to both the baseline and the follow-up enquiries (n = 718). Those not reporting a peptic ulcer in either of the two questionnaires (n = 17,677) were taken as controls. The subjects were further requested (through six questions) to think about their childhood adversities.


The most common adversities mentioned were long-lasting financial difficulties in the family, serious conflicts in the family, and a family member seriously or chronically ill. All the adversities reported, except parental divorce, were more common among peptic ulcer patients than among controls (P values varied between < 0.001 and 0.003). Age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (OR) of childhood adversities in the multivariate logistic analysis for self-reported peptic ulcer varied between 1.45 and 2.01. Adjusting for smoking, heavy drinking, stress and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use had no further influence (ORs between 1.22 and 1.73).


Our findings suggest that childhood adversities maintain a connection with and have a predictive role in the development of peptic ulcer.

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