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Health Complaints are Common in Adolescence

One out of three adolescent reports at least one weekly complaint.  Health complaints were more frequent among adolescents reporting poor perceived family economy and lower parental education.

Uniresearch AS

Health complaints is common among adolescents, but the complaints is not always a sign of illness. Illustration: colourbox.com


This is the result from a study based on data from the youth@hordaland-survey conducted in Hordaland, Western Norway. All adolescents born between 1993 and 1995 living in Hordaland in the spring 2012 were invited to participate, an estimated total of 19,340.


Most adolescents reported no weekly health complaint (65%). At least one weekly health complaint was reported by 35%, and at least two were reported by 20%.


Health complaints in late adolescence; Frequency, factor structure and the association with socio-economic statusScandinavian Journal of Public Health - Solbjørg Makalani Myrtveit Sæther, Børge Sivertsen, Siren Haugland, Tormod Bøe, Mari Hysing, 2017


Association between health complaints and socio-economic status

Reported health complaints were associated with parental education and perceived family economy. Among individuals reporting their perceived family economy to be lower than that of others, 51% reported at least one weekly complaint.


-Adolescents with chronic and recurring health complaints should be taken seriously, Makalani Myrtveit Sæther says. She is the first author of the study. 


-On the other hand, as these one third of the adolescents reports to have complainst every week, having  complaints seems to be quite common and are often medically unexplained rather than a sign of defined diagnosis or illness.


-Rather than starting medical examination, conveying the normative nature of such complaints could be useful, Myrtveit Sæther explains.


The study is published in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

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