Childhood Physical Illness

Although data are mixed and retrospective, a connection appears to exist between childhood physical illness and the later development of somatization. Adults with hypochondriasis reported being sick more often as children and missing school more often for health reasons (Barsky et al. 1994). Persistent abdominal pain in childhood has also been associated with multiple adult somatic complaints (Ho-topf et al. 1999). Poikolainen et al. (2000) found that approximately 66% of men and 75% of women who reported frequent adult somatic symptoms reported significant somatic concerns when in high school.

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