Trends in multiple recurrent health complaints in 15-year-olds in 35 countries in Europe, North America and Israel from 1994 to 2010

Ottová-Jordan, Veronika; Smith, Otto R. F.; Gobina, Inese; Mazur, Joanna; Augustine, Lilly; Cavallo, Franco; Válimaa, Raili; Moor, Irene; Torsheim, Torbjørn; Katreniakova, Zuzana; Vollebergh, Wilma; Ravens-Sieberer, Ulrike
April 2015
European Journal of Public Health;2015 Supplement, Vol. 25 Issue suppl_2, p24
Academic Journal
Background: Health complaints are a good indicator of an individual's psychosocial health and well-being. Studies have shown that children and adolescents report health complaints which can cause significant individual burden. Methods: Using data from the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, this article describes trends in multiple recurrent health complaints (MHC) in 35 countries among N= 237 136 fifteen-year-olds from 1994 to 2010. MHC was defined as the presence of two or more health complaints at least once a week. Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate trends across the five survey cycles for each country. Results: Lowest prevalence throughout the period 1994-2010 was 16.9% in 1998 in Austria and highest in 2006 in Israel (54.7%). Overall, six different trend patterns could be identified: No linear or quadratic trend (9 countries), linear decrease (7 countries), linear increase (5 countries), U-shape (4 countries), inverted U-shape (6 countries) and unstable (4 countries). Conclusion: Trend analyses are valuable in providing hints about developments in populations as well as for benchmarking and evaluation purposes. The high variation in health complaints between the countries requires further investigation, but may also reflect the subjective nature of health complaints.


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