Somatic Complaints from Early Childhood to Early Adolescence

Nicholas Giardino and Richard Rende

in Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157475
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848065 | DOI:
Somatic Complaints from Early                         Childhood to Early Adolescence

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Somatic complaints are common in childhood. Recurrent pain, for example, may occur in as many as 30% of all children. In addition, 2–10% of children presenting at primary care clinics at any one time report suffering from physical symptoms, such as aches, pains, or fatigue, for which no diagnosable injury or disease is identified. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the phenomenon of somatic symptoms in children. Several reports show that children complaining of abdominal pain or headaches show higher levels of anxiety and depression, as well as other medically unexplained somatic symptoms, than healthy children. This chapter describes the results of analyses carried out to characterize somatic symptom complaints in children from the Colorado Adoption Project. Specifically, it reports on the following: frequencies of specific somatic complaints in children across developmental periods; the continuity of somatic symptoms from early childhood to early adolescence; the utility of identifying individuals with somatic complaints in early childhood; sex differences in the characterization of somatic symptoms across childhood; and assessment of genetic factors and environmental factors through sibling analyses.

Keywords: Colorado Adoption Project; somatic complaints; somatic symptoms; children; anxiety; depression; adolescence; sex differences; genetic factors; environmental factors

Chapter.  7319 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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