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Understanding the medically unexplained: emotional and familial influences on children's somatic functioning.
Child Care Health Dev. 2009 May; 35(3):383-90.CC

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Many youth experience impairing, unexplained somatic complaints. Psychosocial models of child somatization have primarily focused on parent somatic functioning. Although helpful in understanding child somatization, this narrow focus on parental factors leaves a large proportion of the variance unaccounted for when explaining children's general somatic functioning. The goal of this investigation is to extend current models of child somatization by collectively examining the influence of parent somatization and child emotional functioning.

METHODS

Forty-two children (50% male; M age = 9.11) reported on their somatic symptoms, emotion awareness skills, and negative affect. Parents reported on their own somatic symptoms and their child's somatic symptoms and emotion regulation skills.

RESULTS

Regression analyses indicated that poor awareness of emotional experiences and frequency of negative effect predicted child-reported somatic symptoms. Parental somatic symptoms and parent reports of children's emotion regulation difficulties predicted mother-reported child somatic symptoms. Only parental somatic symptoms significantly predicted father-reported child somatic symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that models of child somatization should consider both family - (e.g. parent somatization) and child-level (e.g. emotional functioning) variables. The discrepancies between parent and child report of youth somatic symptoms underscore the importance of including multiple reporters on symptomatology in research and clinical settings. Suggestions for future research are provided.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens GA 30602, USA. jgilleland@gmail.comNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19397601

Citation

Gilleland, J, et al. "Understanding the Medically Unexplained: Emotional and Familial Influences On Children's Somatic Functioning." Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 35, no. 3, 2009, pp. 383-90.
Gilleland J, Suveg C, Jacob ML, et al. Understanding the medically unexplained: emotional and familial influences on children's somatic functioning. Child Care Health Dev. 2009;35(3):383-90.
Gilleland, J., Suveg, C., Jacob, M. L., & Thomassin, K. (2009). Understanding the medically unexplained: emotional and familial influences on children's somatic functioning. Child: Care, Health and Development, 35(3), 383-90. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00950.x
Gilleland J, et al. Understanding the Medically Unexplained: Emotional and Familial Influences On Children's Somatic Functioning. Child Care Health Dev. 2009;35(3):383-90. PubMed PMID: 19397601.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Understanding the medically unexplained: emotional and familial influences on children's somatic functioning. AU - Gilleland,J, AU - Suveg,C, AU - Jacob,M L, AU - Thomassin,K, PY - 2009/4/29/entrez PY - 2009/4/29/pubmed PY - 2009/9/29/medline SP - 383 EP - 90 JF - Child: care, health and development JO - Child Care Health Dev VL - 35 IS - 3 N2 - BACKGROUND: Many youth experience impairing, unexplained somatic complaints. Psychosocial models of child somatization have primarily focused on parent somatic functioning. Although helpful in understanding child somatization, this narrow focus on parental factors leaves a large proportion of the variance unaccounted for when explaining children's general somatic functioning. The goal of this investigation is to extend current models of child somatization by collectively examining the influence of parent somatization and child emotional functioning. METHODS: Forty-two children (50% male; M age = 9.11) reported on their somatic symptoms, emotion awareness skills, and negative affect. Parents reported on their own somatic symptoms and their child's somatic symptoms and emotion regulation skills. RESULTS: Regression analyses indicated that poor awareness of emotional experiences and frequency of negative effect predicted child-reported somatic symptoms. Parental somatic symptoms and parent reports of children's emotion regulation difficulties predicted mother-reported child somatic symptoms. Only parental somatic symptoms significantly predicted father-reported child somatic symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that models of child somatization should consider both family - (e.g. parent somatization) and child-level (e.g. emotional functioning) variables. The discrepancies between parent and child report of youth somatic symptoms underscore the importance of including multiple reporters on symptomatology in research and clinical settings. Suggestions for future research are provided. SN - 1365-2214 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19397601/Understanding_the_medically_unexplained:_emotional_and_familial_influences_on_children's_somatic_functioning_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00950.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -