Age and gender differences of somatic symptoms in children and adolescents*

Kelly Romero-Acosta, Josefa Canals, Carmen Hernández-Martínez, Eva Penelo, Teodora Cosmina Zolog, Edelmira Domènech-Llaberia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aims This study provides information about the prevalence of somatic symptoms (Ss) in a population of Spanish children and adolescents and their distribution by age and gender. It also sheds light on which Ss are more associated with depression and anxiety and which are associated with more disability.Method A sample of 2558 school children and adolescents aged 8-16 years old, 1297 girls, completed one questionnaire about Ss, and two about anxiety and depressive symptoms.Results About 37.6% reported at least one Ss, headache being the most prevalent. In terms of age distribution, 26.8% of children and 52.1% of adolescents reported Ss. Girls reported more Ss than did boys. These gender differences started at 13 years of age and decreased at 15. Headache, stomach-ache and muscle pain were the Ss that caused the most impairment.Conclusions In general, depressive symptoms were associated with all Ss, whereas anxiety symptoms were associated with fatigue and muscle pain. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Impairment
  • Somatic symptoms


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