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Trajectories of a set of ten functional somatic symptoms from adolescence to middle age
Univ Tampere, Fac Nat Sci, Tampere 33014, Finland..
Univ Tampere, Sch Hlth Sci, Tampere 33014, Finland..
Ctr Expertise Hlth & Work Abil, Finnish Inst Occupat Hlth, Helsinki, Finland..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Public Health.
2017 (English)In: Archives of Public Health, ISSN 0778-7367, E-ISSN 2049-3258, Vol. 75, article id 11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Functional somatic symptoms (FSS), or symptoms without a clear medical explanation are a considerable challenge for health care systems. There is no general consensus as to which symptoms should be regarded functional. Few longitudinal studies on the development of FSS exist and these have mainly been based on the assumption that the factorial structure of a FSS scores variable remains invariant over time. When the analysis covers longer periods of the life course, this may be challenged. The aim of our study was to investigate how ten functional somatic symptoms (FSS) evolve when individuals are ageing. Methods: The data of the Northern Swedish Cohort (n = 1001) from questionnaire surveys at ages 16, 18, 21, 30 and 42, were analysed. Participation rates remained very high over the five surveys. The list of symptoms included backache, breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, headache or migraine, nausea, overstrain, palpitations, sleeplessness and stomach ache. We used multivariate trajectory analysis (TA) with logistic broken-stick regression models to describe sub-groups in the data. In multivariate TA the joint development of the set of item variables can be investigated. There is no need to construct a special FSS summary score variable. Results: Four well separated trajectories were identified. In two groups, healing symptoms (25.4% of the sample) and low symptom load (32.2% of the sample), the symptom level stayed relatively low in adulthood. In the third group of high symptom load (17.2%) the probability of having symptoms was high for all FSS variables. In the fourth group of increasing symptoms (25.3%) the level of symptoms was first intermediate, but increased markedly with age. Conclusions: Instead of a single FSS score we were able to assign each individual to one of four trajectories described jointly by 10 separate symptoms. The profile of development, but not the probability level, was rather similar over the symptoms within the trajectories, with few exceptions. The results provide better understanding of the longitudinal development of the symptoms from the adolescence to the middle age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 75, article id 11
Keywords [en]
Finite mixtures, Logistic regression, Longitudinal data, Multivariate trajectory analysis, Pain
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320660DOI: 10.1186/s13690-017-0178-8ISI: 000395694300001PubMedID: 28286651OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-320660DiVA, id: diva2:1116964
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 259-2012-37Available from: 2017-06-28 Created: 2017-06-28 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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