Prevalence of somatic symptoms in portuguese children and its association with symptoms of depression and anxiety

Inês Neves Caldas, Paula Cristina Correia and Marisa Santos Silva

Introduction: Somatization is a generic term to define a group of experiential, cognitive and behavioral characteristics of patients suffering from physical symptoms. In this scope, some previous studies have reported a relation between somatic symptoms and disorders related to anxiety and depression.
Objective: The knowledge about this issue in Portuguese children is still limited, so we propose ourselves to study the prevalence of somatic symptoms in two groups of children from 9 to 11 years old, one in a scholar environment and another in a pediatric department. We also intend to study the association of this problem with psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Method: We analyzed the HADS and CSI-24 children responses (n=60; 9 to 11 years). Children were recruited from two distinct study areas, including a regular school (n=30) and a Pediatrics Outpatient clinic (n=30).
Hypothesis of study: In the pediatric outpatient clinic: children show a higher prevalence of psychosomatic symptoms than children attending a regular school. On the other hand, there is a higher prevalence of somatic symptoms in children with symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Conclusion: We may conclude that somatic symptoms are more frequent at the Hospital group. Also, they are positively associated with symptoms of depression.

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