Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physically abused children report higher levels of psychosomatic symptoms

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Children who display multiple psychosomatic symptoms, such as regular aches and pains and sleep and appetite problems, are more than twice as likely to be experiencing physical abuse at home than children who do not display symptoms. Researchers who studied 2,510 children found a strong association between reported physical abuse and three or more psychosomatic symptoms. The association was highest in children who were physically abused and also witnessed intimate partner violence.

Children who display multiple psychosomatic symptoms, such as regular aches and pains and sleep and appetite problems, are more than twice as likely to be experiencing physical abuse at home than children who do not display symptoms, according to a study in the March edition of Acta Paediatrica.

Swedish researchers who studied 2,510 children aged 10, 12 and 15 from 44 schools found a strong association between reported physical abuse and three or more psychosomatic symptoms. The association was highest in children who were physically abused and also witnessed intimate partner violence (IPV). However, there was no significant association between IPV on its own and multiple symptoms.

"The children were asked if they had experienced any of the following symptoms at least twice in the last month: stomach ache, headache, sleeplessness, dizziness, back pain and loss of appetite" explains co-author Professor Staffan Janson from the Division of Public Health Sciences at Karlstad University, Sweden.

"They were also asked about 13 common chronic conditions, bullying and school performance, to eliminate any other factors that could cause the symptoms, and about whether they had been physically abused and witnessed IPV at home."

The study sample was equally split between girls and boys, with approximately one third of the sample coming from each of the three age groups.

Key findings of the study included:

  • Most of the children were born in Sweden (89%) and living with both biological parents (74%). Just under half (42%) had at least one chronic condition, 10% had two chronic conditions and 4% had three or more.
  • One in six of the children (16%) had suffered physical abuse or witnessed IPV in the home -- 9% reported just physical abuse, 4% reported IPV alone and 3% reported both.
  • Two-thirds of the children (66%) reported at least one psychosomatic symptom and just over a third of these children (35%) reported three symptoms or more.
  • The most common symptoms were headache (38%), sleeplessness (36%) and stomach ache (31%).
  • 86% of the children who reported that they were physically abused and had witnessed IPV at home reported at least one psychosomatic symptom, with 41% reporting three or more, compared with 17% of the non-abused children.
  • 82% of the children who reported physical abuse only reported at least one symptom, with 35% reporting three or more symptoms compared with 17% of the non-abused children.
  • There was no significant difference in the symptoms reported by children who did or did not report just IPV.
  • When confounding factors, such as chronic conditions, bullying and school performance were taken into account, the odds of a child suffering physical abuse, with or without IPV, was 112% higher (OR 2.12) than a child who was not being abused. When IPV was added into the equation, this rose to 171% higher (OR 2.71)
  • The odds for a child suffering physical abuse only was 72% higher (OR 1.72) and the odds for IPV only was 9% higher (OR 1.09).
  • Abused children with chronic conditions reported significantly more psychosomatic symptoms than abused children without chronic conditions.

"Our study demonstrates a clear association between high levels of psychosomatic symptoms and an increased risk of physical abuse" says Professor Janson. "The association was even stronger in abused children who also witnessed intimate partner violence at home.

"The findings suggest that healthcare professionals should consider the possibility of physical abuse if a child presents with three or more regular psychosomatic symptoms a month.

"However, it is also important that they rule out any confounding factors, such as chronic illness, bullying and school performance when assessing the child."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carolina Jernbro, Birgitta Svensson, Ylva Tindberg, Staffan Janson. Multiple psychosomatic symptoms can indicate child physical abuse - results from a study of Swedish schoolchildren. Acta Paediatrica, 2012; 101 (3): 324 DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02518.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Physically abused children report higher levels of psychosomatic symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209135343.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2012, February 9). Physically abused children report higher levels of psychosomatic symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209135343.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Physically abused children report higher levels of psychosomatic symptoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209135343.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins