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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011 May;32(4):328-31. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181fa5727.

Extra burden of psychosomatic complaints among adolescents suffering from chronic conditions.

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From the Research Group on Adolescent Health, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.



To determine whether there are differences in health perception and health care use among adolescents with psychosomatic symptoms (PS), with chronic conditions (CCs), and with both conditions compared with healthy controls.


By using the SMASH02 database, 4 groups were created: youths with PS but no CCs (N = 1010); youths with CCs but no PS (N = 497); youths with both psychosomatic symptoms and chronic conditions (PSCC, N = 213); and youths with neither PS nor CC (control, N = 5709). We used χ(2) tests and analysis of variance to compare each variable between the 4 groups. In a second step, all health and health care use variables were included in a multinomial regression analysis controlling for significant (p < .05) background variables and using the control group as the reference.


Overall, PS and PSCC youths were significantly more likely to rate their health as poor, to be depressed, and to have consulted several times their primary health care provider or a mental health professional than their healthy peers. With the exception of being depressed, PSCC adolescents reported worse health perception and higher health care use than CC and PS.


Although PS youths do not define PS as a CC, it should be considered as one. Moreover, having PS represents an additional burden to chronically ill adolescents. Health professionals dealing with adolescents must be aware of the deleterious health effects that PS can have on adolescents and have this diagnosis in mind to better target the treatment and improve their management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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