Child Health Pilot Project Abstract - Wilson, Anna, PhD

Wilson, Anna, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Peri-Operative Medicine, OHSU

“Gender differences in pain and somatic complaints in adolescence"

This study will examine gender differences in the role of physical activity and psychosocial risk factors as correlates of pain and somatic symptoms in early adolescence.

Recurrent aches and pains, such as headaches and abdominal pain, affect up to 30% of otherwise healthy adolescents and are associated with activity limitations and reduced quality of life. In middle childhood, boys and girls evidence similar rates of recurrent pains, but by early adolescence, girls begin a lifelong pattern of increased risk for chronic pain, activity limitations, and disability compared to boys. Little is known about the mechanisms that contribute to the gender disparity in pain prevalence and related disability. A potential set of mechanisms that has been largely unexplored are the physical activity patterns and beliefs about physical activity that emerge in early adolescence. Psychosocial risk factors such as depressive symptoms and stressful life events may also contribute to pain and somatic complaints in adolescent girls. This study will help clarify the potential role of physical activity reductions and psychosocial risk factors in the occurrence of pain and somatic complaints in early adolescence in girls and boys. N=300 11-12 year olds will be recruited through 6th grade classrooms in public schools in the Portland, Oregon area. Children will undergo actigraphy monitoring to objectively assess physical activity patterns. Children and their parents will complete questionnaire measures of pain, somatic symptoms, physical activity participation, depressive symptoms, family functioning, and stressful life events. Results will inform future longitudinal studies with this cohort and will aid in the development of preventive interventions designed to reduce pain and related disability in adolescence..