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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 29;11(1):17. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-11-17.

Identifying the sociodemographic determinants of subjective health complaints in a cross-sectional study of Greek adolescents.

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  • 1Centre for Health Services Research, Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.



Experience of common health symptoms without a clear physical or psychological cause, such as headache or dizziness, is often reported in adolescence. The present study attempted to investigate associations of self-reported subjective health complaints (SHC) with a number of sociodemographic factors of Greek adolescents.


Questionnaires were administered to a Greek nationwide random school-based sample of adolescents aged 12 to 18 years and their parents in 2003. Data from 922 adolescent-parent pairs were analyzed (response rate = 63%). Adolescents' reported subjective health complaints were assessed for their association with a number of sociodemographic factors: age, sex, type of area of residence according to level of urbanization, immigration background, parental education and employment status, family socioeconomic status and perceived quality of financial resources (PQFR). Multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the association of the aforementioned factors with subjective health complaints as the dependent variable.


Most sociodemographic variables, apart from area of residence and immigration background, were independently associated with subjective health complaints in the univariate analyses. The multiple linear regression analysis, however, limited the factors that could predict adolescents' subjective health complaints to four (age, sex, Family Affluence Scale score and perceived quality of financial resources). Some considerations regarding parental employment status and immigration background are highlighted.


Our study highlights the sociodemographic components of subjective health complaints in the Greek adolescent population. The need to include adolescent-specific measures when collecting information on adolescents' social background is underlined. Identifying vulnerable adolescent populations could lead to effective health promoting and preventive interventions.

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