The role of individual and macro-level social determinants on young adolescents' psychosomatic complaints

Veronika Ottova, Michael Erhart, Wilma Vollebergh, Gyöngyi Kökönyei, Antony Morgan, Inese Gobina, Helena Jericek, Franco Cavallo, Raili Välimaa, Margarida Gaspar de Matos, Tania Gaspar, Christina W. Schnohr, Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the social determinants of psychosomatic complaints in young adolescents. Using data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, psychosomatic complaints are studied in 98,773 adolescents (11- and 13-year-olds; 48% 11-year-olds, 52% 13-year-olds; 52% females, 48% males) from 34 European countries. Individual-level determinants, including family-, peer and school-related factors as well as country-level determinants (Human Development Index [HDI]) are considered. In line with existing evidence, results revealed more psychosomatic complaints in young adolescents experiencing stress inducing familial-, peer and school-related factors. Negative effects of poor friendships, negative class climate, school pressure, and high media use were more pronounced for girls. After controlling for these factors, a higher HDI was related to a lower risk for psychosomatic complaints. Gender-specific intervention programs should aim at improving the quality of relationships, especially among peers, to prevent psychosomatic complaints among young adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-158
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • family
  • peers
  • school context
  • stressors
  • well-being

Field of Science*

  • 5.1 Psychology

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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