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Continuity of functional-somatic symptoms from late childhood to young adulthood in a community sample

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Background: 

The goal of this study was to assess the course of functional-somatic symptoms from late childhood to young adulthood and the associations of these symptoms with young adult psychopathology. Methods: 

Data were collected in a large community sample at three different points in time (1994, 1997, and 2001). Functional-somatic symptoms were represented by nine self-reported items of the Youth Self Report (YSR) or the Young Adult Self Report (YASR). Only definite expressions of these symptoms were counted. Results: 

Definite functional-somatic symptoms across time ranged between 1.0 and 2.6% for dizziness, 3.0 and 6.7% for overtiredness, 1.0 and 2.9% for aches and pains, 5.6 and 8.3% for headaches, 1.2 and 1.9% for nausea, 2.5 and 3.0% for stomach-ache, and .2 and .8% for vomiting. In general, symptoms were more common in females at various times. In high-scoring subjects there was a significantly higher chance of functional-somatic symptoms persisting across time. Conclusions: 

Functional-somatic symptoms in childhood and adolescents can be easily identified in the community. In high-scoring subjects they tend to persist from childhood to adulthood.
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Keywords: Functional-somatic symptoms; adolescence; adulthood; community study; epidemiology; longitudinal study; outcome; psychopathology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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