Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities: Results from the IDEFICS Study

Barbara Vanaelst, Tineke De Vriendt, Wolfgang Ahrens, Karin Bammann, Charalambos Hadjigeorgiou, Kenn Konstabel, Lauren Lissner, Nathalie Michels, Denes Molnar, Luis A. Moreno, Lucia Reisch, Alfonso Siani, Isabelle Sioen, Stefaan De Henauw

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The prevalence of childhood stress and psychosomatic and emotional symptoms (PES) has increased in parallel, indicating that adverse, stressful circumstances and PES in children might be associated. This study describes the prevalence of PES in European children, aged 4–11 years old, and examines the relationship among PES, negative life events (NLE) and familial or social adversities in the child’s life. Parent-reported data on childhood adversities and PES was collected for 4,066 children from 8 European countries, who participated in the follow-up survey of IDEFICS (2009–2010), by means of the ‘IDEFICS parental questionnaire’. A modified version of the ‘Social Readjustment Rating Scale’, the ‘KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents’ and the ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ were incorporated in this questionnaire, as well as questions on socio-demographics, family lifestyle and health of the child. Chi-square analyses were performed to investigate the prevalence of PES among survey centres, age groups and sex of the child. Odds ratios were calculated to examine the childhood adversity exposure between PES groups and logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate: (a) the contribution of the number and (b) the specific types of experienced adversities on the occurrence of PES. 45.7% of the children experienced at least one PES, with low emotional well-being during the last week being most frequently reported (38.2%). No sex differences were shown for the prevalence of PES (P = 0.282), but prevalence proportions rose with increasing age (P < 0.001). Children with PES were more frequently exposed to childhood adversities compared to children without PES (e.g. 13.3 and 3.9% of peer problems and 25.4 and 17.4% of non-traditional family structure in the PES vs. no PES group, respectively, P < 0.001). An increasing number of adversities (regardless of their nature) was found to gradually amplify the risk for PES (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.98–4.12 for a number of ≥3 NLE), indicating the effect of cumulative stress. Finally, a number of specified adversities were identified as apparent risk factors for the occurrence of PES, such as living in a non-traditional family structure (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.30–1.79) or experiencing peer problems (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 2.73–4.61). Childhood adversities were significantly related to PES prevalence, both quantitatively (i.e. the number of adversities) and qualitatively (i.e. the type of adversity). This study demonstrates the importance and the impact of the child’s family and social context on the occurrence of PES in children younger than 12 years old.
    The prevalence of childhood stress and psychosomatic and emotional symptoms (PES) has increased in parallel, indicating that adverse, stressful circumstances and PES in children might be associated. This study describes the prevalence of PES in European children, aged 4–11 years old, and examines the relationship among PES, negative life events (NLE) and familial or social adversities in the child’s life. Parent-reported data on childhood adversities and PES was collected for 4,066 children from 8 European countries, who participated in the follow-up survey of IDEFICS (2009–2010), by means of the ‘IDEFICS parental questionnaire’. A modified version of the ‘Social Readjustment Rating Scale’, the ‘KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents’ and the ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ were incorporated in this questionnaire, as well as questions on socio-demographics, family lifestyle and health of the child. Chi-square analyses were performed to investigate the prevalence of PES among survey centres, age groups and sex of the child. Odds ratios were calculated to examine the childhood adversity exposure between PES groups and logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate: (a) the contribution of the number and (b) the specific types of experienced adversities on the occurrence of PES. 45.7% of the children experienced at least one PES, with low emotional well-being during the last week being most frequently reported (38.2%). No sex differences were shown for the prevalence of PES (P = 0.282), but prevalence proportions rose with increasing age (P < 0.001). Children with PES were more frequently exposed to childhood adversities compared to children without PES (e.g. 13.3 and 3.9% of peer problems and 25.4 and 17.4% of non-traditional family structure in the PES vs. no PES group, respectively, P < 0.001). An increasing number of adversities (regardless of their nature) was found to gradually amplify the risk for PES (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.98–4.12 for a number of ≥3 NLE), indicating the effect of cumulative stress. Finally, a number of specified adversities were identified as apparent risk factors for the occurrence of PES, such as living in a non-traditional family structure (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.30–1.79) or experiencing peer problems (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 2.73–4.61). Childhood adversities were significantly related to PES prevalence, both quantitatively (i.e. the number of adversities) and qualitatively (i.e. the type of adversity). This study demonstrates the importance and the impact of the child’s family and social context on the occurrence of PES in children younger than 12 years old.
    LanguageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    Volume21
    Issue number5
    Pages253-265
    Number of pages13
    ISSN1018-8827
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Child
    • Life Events
    • Adversities
    • Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms
    • Epidemiology

    Cite this

    Vanaelst, Barbara ; De Vriendt, Tineke ; Ahrens, Wolfgang ; Bammann, Karin ; Hadjigeorgiou, Charalambos ; Konstabel, Kenn ; Lissner, Lauren ; Michels, Nathalie ; Molnar, Denes ; Moreno, Luis A. ; Reisch, Lucia ; Siani, Alfonso ; Sioen, Isabelle ; De Henauw, Stefaan. / Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities : Results from the IDEFICS Study. In: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2012 ; Vol. 21, No. 5. pp. 253-265
    @article{e76c6daaac8345acaa9a363dee74a161,
    title = "Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities: Results from the IDEFICS Study",
    abstract = "The prevalence of childhood stress and psychosomatic and emotional symptoms (PES) has increased in parallel, indicating that adverse, stressful circumstances and PES in children might be associated. This study describes the prevalence of PES in European children, aged 4–11 years old, and examines the relationship among PES, negative life events (NLE) and familial or social adversities in the child’s life. Parent-reported data on childhood adversities and PES was collected for 4,066 children from 8 European countries, who participated in the follow-up survey of IDEFICS (2009–2010), by means of the ‘IDEFICS parental questionnaire’. A modified version of the ‘Social Readjustment Rating Scale’, the ‘KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents’ and the ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ were incorporated in this questionnaire, as well as questions on socio-demographics, family lifestyle and health of the child. Chi-square analyses were performed to investigate the prevalence of PES among survey centres, age groups and sex of the child. Odds ratios were calculated to examine the childhood adversity exposure between PES groups and logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate: (a) the contribution of the number and (b) the specific types of experienced adversities on the occurrence of PES. 45.7{\%} of the children experienced at least one PES, with low emotional well-being during the last week being most frequently reported (38.2{\%}). No sex differences were shown for the prevalence of PES (P = 0.282), but prevalence proportions rose with increasing age (P < 0.001). Children with PES were more frequently exposed to childhood adversities compared to children without PES (e.g. 13.3 and 3.9{\%} of peer problems and 25.4 and 17.4{\%} of non-traditional family structure in the PES vs. no PES group, respectively, P < 0.001). An increasing number of adversities (regardless of their nature) was found to gradually amplify the risk for PES (OR = 2.85, 95{\%} CI = 1.98–4.12 for a number of ≥3 NLE), indicating the effect of cumulative stress. Finally, a number of specified adversities were identified as apparent risk factors for the occurrence of PES, such as living in a non-traditional family structure (OR = 1.52, 95{\%} CI = 1.30–1.79) or experiencing peer problems (OR = 3.55, 95{\%} CI = 2.73–4.61). Childhood adversities were significantly related to PES prevalence, both quantitatively (i.e. the number of adversities) and qualitatively (i.e. the type of adversity). This study demonstrates the importance and the impact of the child’s family and social context on the occurrence of PES in children younger than 12 years old.",
    keywords = "Child , Life Events, Adversities, Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms, Epidemiology",
    author = "Barbara Vanaelst and {De Vriendt}, Tineke and Wolfgang Ahrens and Karin Bammann and Charalambos Hadjigeorgiou and Kenn Konstabel and Lauren Lissner and Nathalie Michels and Denes Molnar and Moreno, {Luis A.} and Lucia Reisch and Alfonso Siani and Isabelle Sioen and {De Henauw}, Stefaan",
    year = "2012",
    doi = "10.1007/s00787-012-0258-9",
    language = "English",
    volume = "21",
    pages = "253--265",
    journal = "European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry",
    issn = "1018-8827",
    publisher = "Springer",
    number = "5",

    }

    Vanaelst, B, De Vriendt, T, Ahrens, W, Bammann, K, Hadjigeorgiou, C, Konstabel, K, Lissner, L, Michels, N, Molnar, D, Moreno, LA, Reisch, L, Siani, A, Sioen, I & De Henauw, S 2012, 'Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities: Results from the IDEFICS Study' European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 253-265. DOI: 10.1007/s00787-012-0258-9

    Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities : Results from the IDEFICS Study. / Vanaelst, Barbara; De Vriendt, Tineke; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Bammann, Karin; Hadjigeorgiou, Charalambos; Konstabel, Kenn; Lissner, Lauren; Michels, Nathalie; Molnar, Denes; Moreno, Luis A.; Reisch, Lucia; Siani, Alfonso; Sioen, Isabelle; De Henauw, Stefaan.

    In: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 21, No. 5, 2012, p. 253-265.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and its Relationship with Childhood Adversities

    T2 - European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

    AU - Vanaelst,Barbara

    AU - De Vriendt,Tineke

    AU - Ahrens,Wolfgang

    AU - Bammann,Karin

    AU - Hadjigeorgiou,Charalambos

    AU - Konstabel,Kenn

    AU - Lissner,Lauren

    AU - Michels,Nathalie

    AU - Molnar,Denes

    AU - Moreno,Luis A.

    AU - Reisch,Lucia

    AU - Siani,Alfonso

    AU - Sioen,Isabelle

    AU - De Henauw,Stefaan

    PY - 2012

    Y1 - 2012

    N2 - The prevalence of childhood stress and psychosomatic and emotional symptoms (PES) has increased in parallel, indicating that adverse, stressful circumstances and PES in children might be associated. This study describes the prevalence of PES in European children, aged 4–11 years old, and examines the relationship among PES, negative life events (NLE) and familial or social adversities in the child’s life. Parent-reported data on childhood adversities and PES was collected for 4,066 children from 8 European countries, who participated in the follow-up survey of IDEFICS (2009–2010), by means of the ‘IDEFICS parental questionnaire’. A modified version of the ‘Social Readjustment Rating Scale’, the ‘KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents’ and the ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ were incorporated in this questionnaire, as well as questions on socio-demographics, family lifestyle and health of the child. Chi-square analyses were performed to investigate the prevalence of PES among survey centres, age groups and sex of the child. Odds ratios were calculated to examine the childhood adversity exposure between PES groups and logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate: (a) the contribution of the number and (b) the specific types of experienced adversities on the occurrence of PES. 45.7% of the children experienced at least one PES, with low emotional well-being during the last week being most frequently reported (38.2%). No sex differences were shown for the prevalence of PES (P = 0.282), but prevalence proportions rose with increasing age (P < 0.001). Children with PES were more frequently exposed to childhood adversities compared to children without PES (e.g. 13.3 and 3.9% of peer problems and 25.4 and 17.4% of non-traditional family structure in the PES vs. no PES group, respectively, P < 0.001). An increasing number of adversities (regardless of their nature) was found to gradually amplify the risk for PES (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.98–4.12 for a number of ≥3 NLE), indicating the effect of cumulative stress. Finally, a number of specified adversities were identified as apparent risk factors for the occurrence of PES, such as living in a non-traditional family structure (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.30–1.79) or experiencing peer problems (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 2.73–4.61). Childhood adversities were significantly related to PES prevalence, both quantitatively (i.e. the number of adversities) and qualitatively (i.e. the type of adversity). This study demonstrates the importance and the impact of the child’s family and social context on the occurrence of PES in children younger than 12 years old.

    AB - The prevalence of childhood stress and psychosomatic and emotional symptoms (PES) has increased in parallel, indicating that adverse, stressful circumstances and PES in children might be associated. This study describes the prevalence of PES in European children, aged 4–11 years old, and examines the relationship among PES, negative life events (NLE) and familial or social adversities in the child’s life. Parent-reported data on childhood adversities and PES was collected for 4,066 children from 8 European countries, who participated in the follow-up survey of IDEFICS (2009–2010), by means of the ‘IDEFICS parental questionnaire’. A modified version of the ‘Social Readjustment Rating Scale’, the ‘KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents’ and the ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ were incorporated in this questionnaire, as well as questions on socio-demographics, family lifestyle and health of the child. Chi-square analyses were performed to investigate the prevalence of PES among survey centres, age groups and sex of the child. Odds ratios were calculated to examine the childhood adversity exposure between PES groups and logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate: (a) the contribution of the number and (b) the specific types of experienced adversities on the occurrence of PES. 45.7% of the children experienced at least one PES, with low emotional well-being during the last week being most frequently reported (38.2%). No sex differences were shown for the prevalence of PES (P = 0.282), but prevalence proportions rose with increasing age (P < 0.001). Children with PES were more frequently exposed to childhood adversities compared to children without PES (e.g. 13.3 and 3.9% of peer problems and 25.4 and 17.4% of non-traditional family structure in the PES vs. no PES group, respectively, P < 0.001). An increasing number of adversities (regardless of their nature) was found to gradually amplify the risk for PES (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.98–4.12 for a number of ≥3 NLE), indicating the effect of cumulative stress. Finally, a number of specified adversities were identified as apparent risk factors for the occurrence of PES, such as living in a non-traditional family structure (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.30–1.79) or experiencing peer problems (OR = 3.55, 95% CI = 2.73–4.61). Childhood adversities were significantly related to PES prevalence, both quantitatively (i.e. the number of adversities) and qualitatively (i.e. the type of adversity). This study demonstrates the importance and the impact of the child’s family and social context on the occurrence of PES in children younger than 12 years old.

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    KW - Life Events

    KW - Adversities

    KW - Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms

    KW - Epidemiology

    U2 - 10.1007/s00787-012-0258-9

    DO - 10.1007/s00787-012-0258-9

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    JO - European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

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