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.