Psychosomatic problems and stress in adolescence

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1997 Dec;44(6):1557-72. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(05)70574-5.


Psychosomatic problems are common in adolescents, and stress frequently plays a role in their development and maintenance. Armed with an understanding of the stressors experienced by adolescents, the individual's vulnerabilities and competencies and their level of social support, the physician can systematically assess each of these factors. Once the assessment is complete, a management plan can be formulated to address the particular psychosomatic problem. Symptom relief, stress reduction, and promotion of competence are important interventions that can be initiated by the primary care physician. When referrals are made for counseling and other stress management techniques, the primary care physician should maintain contact with the patient and family and remain an integral part of the management team. Incorporating brief discussions about the potential role of stress in health and illness into anticipatory guidance sessions may also help prevent the development of psychosomatic problems in adolescents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Counseling
  • Family
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / prevention & control
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*