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Orv Hetil. 2006 May 7;147(18):819-25.

[Psychosomatic symptom formation as a health status indicator in early adolescence: behavioral epidemiologic analysis].

[Article in Hungarian]

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Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Szent-Györgyi Albert Orvos- es Gyógyszerésztudományi Centrum, Altalános Orvostudományi Kar, Pszichiátriai Klinika, Magatartástudományi Csoport, Szeged.



In adolescence, due to the ongoing biological-hormonal and psychosocial changes, the formation of psychosomatic symptoms becomes more frequent. The psychosomatic symptom formation has an influence on adolescents' self-perceived health as well as on their later health and illness related attitudes and behaviors. The main goal of the present study has been to detect the occurrence of psychosomatic symptoms among early adolescents, and to see the impact of psychosocial and psychological variables on the symptom formation.


In the frame of the South Plain Youth Study, the survey was going on among middle school aged students (N = 548, classes 5-8, mean age of 12.2 years). Data were collected by means of self-completed questionnaires which contained items on sociodemographics (age, gender, parental schooling, socioeconomic status of the family), mapping psychosomatic symptoms, and certain psychosocial and psychological variables affecting psychosomatic symptom formation (such as academic achievement, health-compromising behaviors, the lack of aggression control and social comparison). Statistical analyses included chi2 test, student's t-test, ANOVA, and multiple linear regression analyses.


Fatigue proved to be the most frequent psychosomatic symptoms in both sexes which was followed by headache and lower back pain. These latter symptoms were more common among girls (p < 0.001). Good academic achievement was a protective factor (p < 0.05), while the lack of aggression control increased the psychosomatic symptom formation (boys: beta = 0.37, p < 0.001, girls: beta = 0.21, p < 0.01). Smoking (beta = 0.24, p < 0.01) and social comparison (beta = 0.16, p < 0.05) were predictors only among girls.


The results draw the attention to the importance of psychosomatic symptom formation in clinical practice. Beyond the difficulties in differential diagnosis, all efforts should be made to start a causal therapy of the latent psychosocial problems so as to prevent the onset of more serious ill health states.

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