© 2017 Sociedad Española para el Estudio de la Ansiedad y el Estrés - SEAS. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved. Background: Participants with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) often suffer from anxiety, stress related illnesses and also from dysautonomia. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is hypothesized to play a key role in the relationship between these variables. However, to date, no studies have assessed body awareness and the reactivity of autonomically-regulated organs in JHS using the Body Perception Questionnaire. Method: A cross sectional study including 117 nonclinical youngsters (mean age 16.96 ± 0.87 years old) assessed JHS in relation to body perception. JHS screening was done using the self-reported Screening Questionnaire for Collagen condition and Hypermobility assessment (SQCH) and body perception was assessed using the Spanish version of the Body Perception Questionnaire (BPQ). Results: The JHS was found in 33.3% of the sample and it was significantly higher in females (χ2= 12.15; p = <.001). Participants with JHS had higher scores in body awareness (p =.012), stress response (p =.007), ANS reactivity (p =.01), and in the health history inventory (p = <.001). In this last subscale, higher frequency of anxiety (p = <.001), unhappiness (p = <.001), depression (p = <.001), bulimia (p =.012), anorexia (p =.023), eczema (p =.003), and severe menstrual cramps (in females only) (p =.016) were found among the JHS participants. Moreover, JHS participants made significantly more visits to mental health professionals (p =.019) than their non JHS counterparts. Conclusions: Participants with JHS have a body perception profile characterized by higher body awareness and stress response and greater ANS reactivity. These participants also have higher frequency of anxiety, depression, bulimia, anorexia, unhappiness, severe menstrual cramps (in females only) and eczema. These findings support the hypothesis that the ANS and body perception may play a key role in the development of anxiety and somatic illnesses among participants with JHS, but this needs to be further evaluated in subsequent studies.
- Autonomic nervous system dysfunction
- Body perception
- Joint hypermobility