Sleep and pain are thought to be bidirectional related on a daily basis in adolescents with chronic pain complaints. In addition, sleep problems have been shown to predict the long-term onset of musculoskeletal pain in middle-aged adults. Yet, the long-term effects of sleep problems on pain duration and different types of pain severity in emerging adults (age: 18-25) are unknown. This study investigated the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between sleep problems and chronic pain, and musculoskeletal pain, headache, and abdominal pain severity in a general population of emerging adults. We studied whether these relationships were moderated by sex and whether symptoms of anxiety and depression, fatigue, or physical inactivity mediated these effects. Data of participants from the longitudinal Dutch TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey were used. Follow-up data were collected in 1753 participants who participated in the fourth (N = 1668, mean age: 19.0 years [SD = 0.6]) and/or fifth (N = 1501, mean age: 22.3 years [SD = 0.6]) assessment wave. Autoregressive cross-lagged models were used for analyses. Sleep problems were associated with chronic pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and abdominal pain severity, and predicted chronic pain and an increase in musculoskeletal pain severity at 3 years of follow-up. This prospective effect was stronger in females than in males and was mediated by fatigue but not by symptoms of anxiety and depression or physical inactivity. Only abdominal pain had a small long-term effect on sleep problems. Our results suggest that sleep problems may be an additional target for treatment in female emerging adults with musculoskeletal pain complaints.
Objective. Stressors have been related to medically insufficiently explained or functional somatic symptoms (FSS). However, the underlying mechanism of this association is largely unclear. In the current study, we examined whether FSS are associated with different perceived stress and cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) levels during a standardized stressful situation, and whether these associations are symptom-specific. Methods.
We examined 715 adolescents (16.1 years, 51.3% girls) from the Dutch cohort study Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Sample during the Groningen Social Stress Test (GSST). FSS were assessed by the Youth Self-Report, and clustered into a cluster of overtiredness, dizziness and musculoskeletal pain and a cluster of headache and gastrointestinal symptoms. Perceived stress levels (i.e. unpleasantness and arousal) were assessed by the Self-Assessment Manikin, and cardiac ANS activity by assessing heart rate variability (HRV-HF) and pre-ejection period (PEP). Perceived stress and cardiac ANS levels before, during, and after the GSST were studied as well as cardiac ANS reactivity. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the associations. Results. Perceived arousal levels during (beta = 0.09, p = 0.04) and after (beta = 0.07, p = 0.047) the GSST, and perceived unpleasantness levels before (beta = 0.07, p = 0.048) and during (beta = 0.12, p = 0.001) the GSST were related to FSS during the past couple of months. The association between perceived stress and FSS was stronger for the FSS cluster of overtiredness, dizziness and musculoskeletal pain than for the cluster of headache and gastrointestinal symptoms. Neither ANS activity levels before, during, and after the GSST, nor maximal HF-HRV and PEP reactivity were related to FSS. Conclusions.
This study suggests that perceived stress levels during social stress are related to FSS, whereas cardiac ANS activity and reactivity are not related to FSS.
More than 80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults, and it is therefore important to enhance insight into characteristics that underlie the development and maintenance of overweight and obesity at a young age. The current study is the first to focus on attentional biases towards rewarding and punishing cues as potentially important factors. Participants were young adolescents (N = 607) who were followed from the age of 13 until the age of 19, and completed a motivational game indexing the attentional bias to general cues of reward and punishment. Additionally, self-reported reward and punishment sensitivity was measured. This study showed that attentional biases to cues that signal reward or punishment and self-reported reward and punishment sensitivity were not related to body mass index or the change in body mass index over six years in adolescents. Thus, attentional bias to cues of reward and cues of punishment, and self-reported reward and punishment sensitivity, do not seem to be crucial factors in the development and maintenance of overweight and obesity in adolescents. Exploratory analyses of the current study suggest that the amount of effort to gain reward and to avoid punishment may play a role in the development and maintenance of overweight and obesity. However, since the effort measure was a construct based on face validity and has not been properly validated, more studies are necessary before firm conclusions can be drawn.