Objective. An inactive lifestyle has been associated with functional somatic symptoms (FSS), but findings are contradictory. Moreover, mediating factors in this relationship are unclear. We examined whether low physical activity was related to FSS in adolescents, and whether this association was mediated by low physical fitness. Methods. This study was part of the Dutch longitudinal cohort study TRAILS, in which 1816 adolescents (mean age 16.3 years, SD 0.7) participated during the third (T3) and 1881 (mean age 19.1 years, SD 0.6) during the fourth (T4) assessment waves. Adolescents' exercise and sedentary behavior levels and the number of FSS were assessed by questionnaires at T3 and T4. Physical fitness (VO2Max) was determined for 687 adolescents by a shuttle run test at T3. The association between physical activity and FSS was examined with bootstrapped linear regression analyses, adjusted for smoking and gender. In addition, bootstrapped mediation analyses were performed. Results. A lack of exercise (b=0.05, bootstrap 95%--CI: 0.01 to 0.09) and high sedentary behavior (b=0.10, bootstrap 95%--CI: 0.06 to 0.14) at T3 were positively associated with FSS at T3. Since no longitudinal effects were found, shared associations were tested instead of mediation. The associations between a lack of exercise and FSS, and sedentary behavior and FSS were shared with physical fitness (b=0.01, bootstrap 95%--CI: 0.010.02. and b=0.03, bootstrap 95%--CI: 0.010.05). Conclusions. An inactive lifestyle is associated with increased FSS in adolescents. Only part of this association is shared with low physical fitness.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Objective. To identify risk factors for persistence of functional somatic symptoms (FSS; ie, somatic symptoms that cannot be sufficiently explained by underlying organic pathology). Study design. The first (N = 2230, mean age = 11.1 years [SD 0.6], 50.8% girls), second (N = 2149, mean age = 13.7 years [SD 0.5], 51.0% girls), and third (N = 1816, mean age = 16.3 years [SD 0.7], 52.3% girls) assessment waves of the general population study TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey were used. FSS were assessed with the Youth Self-Report and the Child Behavior Checklist. Growth mixture models were used to identify different subgroups of adolescents on the basis of the developmental trajectory of their symptoms. Adolescents with persistent symptoms were compared with adolescents with decreasing symptoms with a multivariable logistic regression analysis. Results. In our general population cohort, 4.1% of adolescents suffered from persistent FSS. Risk factors for persistent FSS were being a girl (OR 4.69, 95% CI 2.17-10.12), suffering from depressive symptoms (OR 5.35, 95% CI 1.46-16.62), poor self-rated health (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.02-2.39), and high parent-reported FSS (OR 4.03, 95% CI 1.20-13.54). Anxiety, parental overprotection, school absenteeism, and diversity of symptoms did not predict persistence of FSS. Conclusions. This study identified risk factors for persistence of FSS in adolescents. Future studies might study effects of coping strategies and iatrogenic factors on symptom persistence.
Copyright © 2014 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
Objective. Functional somatic symptoms (FSSs) are physical symptoms that cannot be (fully) explained by organic pathology. FSSs are very common among children and adolescents, yet their etiology is largely unknown. We hypothesize that (a) the experience of family disruption due to parental divorce or parental death increases FSSs in adolescents; (b) symptoms of depression and anxiety contribute to the relationship between family disruption and FSSs; (c) girls are more vulnerable to these effects than boys. Method. Data were obtained from the prospective population cohort of Dutch adolescents of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (N = 2,230), aged 10 to 12 years at baseline. FSSs were assessed using the Somatic Complaints subscale of the Youth Self-Report. Parental divorce and parental death were assessed with self-reports. Both outcome and predictors were assessed during 3 assessment waves over the course of 5 years. Linear mixed models were used to investigate associations between both types of family disruption and FSSs. Results. An interaction with age was found for parental divorce (B = 0.01, p = .02) and parental death (B = 0.03, p = .04), indicating that the influence of family disruption on FSSs increases during adolescence. This relationship seems to be partly explained by symptoms of depression and anxiety. No gender differences were found with regard to the effects of family disruption on FSSs. Conclusions. Family disruption is associated with an increased level of FSSs in late adolescence in both genders. This relationship is partly explained by symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
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