- Perfectionism has been linked to a wide range of problems in adolescents.
- Yet, the effect of perfectionism on FSSs in adolescents is unknown.
- We examined whether the feeling one has to be perfect predicted the level of FSSs.
- Perfectionism predicted the course of FSSs in adolescents.
- Symptoms of anxiety and depression only partly mediated this effect.
The main aim of this study was to investigate the effect of childhood sexual abuse on medically not well explained or functional somatic symptoms (FSSs) in adolescents. We hypothesized that sexual abuse predicts higher levels of FSSs and that anxiety and depression contribute to this relationship. In addition, we hypothesized that more severe abuse is associated with higher levels of FSSs and that sexual abuse is related to gastrointestinal FSSs in particular. This study was part of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS): a general population cohort which started in 2001 (N = 2,230; 50.8% girls, mean age 11.1 years). The current study uses data of 1,680 participants over four assessment waves (75% of baseline, mean duration of follow-up: 8 years). FSSs were measured by the Somatic Complaints subscale of the Youth Self-Report at all waves. Sexual abuse before the age of sixteen was assessed retrospectively with a questionnaire at T4. To test the hypotheses linear mixed models were used adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, anxiety and depression. Sexual abuse predicted higher levels of FSSs after adjustment for age sex and socioeconomic status (B = .06) and after additional adjustment for anxiety and depression (B = .03). While sexual abuse involving physical contact significantly predicted the level of FSSs (assault; B = .08, rape; B = .05), non-contact sexual abuse was not significantly associated with FSSs (B = .04). Sexual abuse was not a stronger predictor of gastrointestinal FSSs (B = .06) than of all FSSs. Further research is needed to clarify possible mechanisms underlying relationship between sexual abuse and FSSs.
Objective. In adults, depression and inflammation are bidirectionally related. This association is less clear in adolescents. Moreover, somatic and cognitive depressive symptoms might be differentially related to inflammation. Lifestyle factors, as in adults, may play an important mediating role in adolescents. For the current study we evaluated trajectories of depressive symptoms in adolescence over a 5-year course and their relation with subsequent high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels, and examined lifestyle factors as mediators. Method. Participants of the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives' Survey (TRAILS; N = 1166) were followed from 2001 until 2008. Three biennial youth self-report (YSR) assessments of depressive symptoms were taken. Demographics, health, and lifestyle factors and levels of hsCRP were assessed at Wave 3. Latent-class analysis was used to determine trajectories of depression and general linear models to determine the association between depression trajectories and hsCRP. Finally, mediation analysis was performed to test mediation of lifestyle factors. Results. Persistently moderate to high depressive symptoms were associated with higher hsCRP levels. Results were unaltered when we adjusted for demographics and health variables. Smoking mediated the association between depressive symptoms total score and hsCRP, in large part. Persistently higher scores on somatic and cognitive symptom subscales were associated with higher levels of hsCRP than persistently low scores. These results were rendered nonsignificant after covariate adjustment. Conclusion. Persistent depressive symptoms were associated with subsequent higher levels of hsCRP, with somatic and cognitive symptoms contributing equally. The association was mediated by smoking behavior. These findings suggest that reducing adolescent depression and smoking are important starting points in the prevention of inflammatory diseases.
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