OBJECTIVE: Functional somatic symptoms, symptoms for which no organic pathologic basis can be found, are more prevalent in girls than in boys, and this difference tends to increase during adolescence. This might be explained, at least in part, by pubertal development. We hypothesized that pubertal maturation predicts the development of most functional somatic symptoms and that this especially is true for girls. METHOD: We used 2 longitudinal population-based studies to examine our hypotheses: the Longitudinal Study of Pain in Adolescents in Seattle (n = 1996 [49.7% girls]) and the Dutch Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (n = 2230 [51.0% girls]). Two assessment waves of each study were used. American adolescents were younger than Dutch adolescents at the first (11.6 vs 13.6) and second (14.5 vs 16.2) assessment waves, but they were in about the same pubertal development stage. Functional somatic symptoms were measured by pain questions, the Symptom Checklist-90, and the Youth Self-report. The Pubertal Development Scale was used to assess pubertal development on a continuous scale in both cohorts. RESULTS: Ordinal logistic regression analyses revealed that American and Dutch adolescents at a later pubertal status at baseline were more likely (odds ratios ranged from 1.24 to 1.61) to report back pain, overtiredness, and dizziness but not stomach pain and headache 2 to 3 years later. Although these relationships were not equally strong for boys and girls, no significant gender differences were found. CONCLUSIONS: Pubertal status predicted the frequency of some, but not all, functional somatic symptoms at follow-up. Copyright

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doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-2364, hdl.handle.net/1765/33309
Pediatrics (English Edition)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Janssens, K., Rosmalen, J., Ormel, J. H., Verhulst, F., Hunfeld, J., Mancl, L., … LeResche, L. (2011). Pubertal status predicts back pain, overtiredness, and dizziness in american and dutch adolescents. Pediatrics (English Edition), 128(3), 553–559. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2364