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Somatic symptoms in adolescence as a predictor of in-patient care for mental disorders in adulthood
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 26, no 1Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Somatic symptoms such as headache, abdominal pain and dizziness, are common among young people and often associated with poor everyday functioning and concurrent mental disorders. Yet, relatively few studies have examined the long-term consequences of such symptoms. The aim of the study was to investigate if somatic symptoms in adolescence predict adulthood hospital based care for mental disorders.

Methods

The total school population of 16-17-year olds, in the city of Uppsala, Sweden, was screened for depression in 1991-1993. Adolescents with positive screening and the same number of healthy controls took part in a semi-structured diagnostic interview of mental disorders. In addition, 21 different self-rated functional somatic symptoms were assessed. The participants were followed up in the national patients register about 20 years later (n = 337). The associations between somatic symptoms in adolescence and in-patient care and out-patient hospital based mental health care in adulthood were analysed using binary logistic regression analysis.

Results

Adolescents with somatic symptoms had an excess risk of later psychiatric hospital based health care. The presence of multiple somatic symptoms (≥5) in adolescence was associated with psychiatric hospital based care in adulthood also when controlling for depression and anxiety in adolescence as well as sex and potential psychosocial confounders (OR 3.29, p = 0.046). The presence of just any somatic symptom (≥1) in adolescence predicted later hospital based mental health care for mood disorders (OR 8.49, p = 0.041) whereas adolescent depression, anxiety and sex did not, when mutually adjusted for.

Conclusions

Somatic symptoms in adolescence are a strong independent predictor of severe mental health problems in adulthood. The link between adolescent somatic symptoms and adult mood disorders are particularly strong even when somatic symptoms are compared head to head with concurrent depression and anxiety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 26, no 1
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135717DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw166.047OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-135717DiVA, id: diva2:1048219
Available from: 2016-11-21 Created: 2016-11-21 Last updated: 2018-10-05Bibliographically approved

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