The covariation of common psychosomatic symptoms among children from socio-economically differing residential areas. An epidemiological study

Acta Paediatr. 1993 May;82(5):484-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1993.tb12728.x.


Psychosomatic symptoms among children are believed to be commonplace. In this investigation by questionnaire, 47% of 1333 schoolchildren reported one or several symptoms, such as recurrent abdominal pain, headache, chest pains, loss of appetite and disturbances in bowel function. Coexistence of such symptoms was considerable and if a child had one of these, the probability that it would have one or more other symptoms was significantly increased. This correlation may strengthen both the suspicion that these symptoms are often psychosomatic and the idea that they have common CNS origin. There were appreciable differences in the frequency of the symptoms, between children at the more socially stable schools and schools with social problems. In the latter, the frequencies of symptoms differed between Swedish and immigrant children, which was not the case in the more socially stable schools.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / complications
  • Abdominal Pain / ethnology
  • Abdominal Pain / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Chest Pain / complications
  • Chest Pain / psychology*
  • Child
  • Constipation / complications
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Diarrhea / complications
  • Diarrhea / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Headache / complications
  • Headache / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / ethnology
  • Recurrence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Urban Population