Low back pain in schoolchildren. A study of familial and psychological factors

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1995 Jun 1;20(11):1265-70. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199506000-00012.


Study design: The results of a survey organized in the school system of the Swiss canton of Fribourg. An original questionnaire was developed for this study are reported.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to evaluate the possible role of familial or psychological factors in schoolchildren reporting nonspecific low back pain.

Summary of background data: Previous surveys have shown a high prevalence of nonspecific low back. pain among schoolchildren, particularly teen-agers. The reported familial incidence raises, among others, the question of a possible role of psychological or behavioral factors.

Methods: This survey was performed with a validated 43-item self-administered questionnaire eliciting information about back pain history, family characteristics, children's activities, and psychological parameters. All schoolchildren (n = 615), ages 12-17 years, in two secondary schools (Fribourg, Switzerland) were surveyed. The response rate was 98%.

Results: Reported lifetime prevalence of back pain was 74%. Lumbar pain was the most frequent localization of pain (69% of back pain). The measured psychological factors were significantly associated with reported nonspecific low back pain and its consequences as well as with sibling history of low back pain.

Conclusions: The study suggests that psychological factors play a role in children's reporting of nonspecific low back pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect
  • Child
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Male
  • Nuclear Family
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology