European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 965-975

Recurrent pain in children, socio-economic factors and accumulation in families

  • Else-Karin GrøholtAffiliated withNorwegian Institute of Public Health
  • , Hein StigumAffiliated withNorwegian Institute of Public Health
  • , Rannveig NordhagenAffiliated withNorwegian Institute of Public Health
  • , Lennart KöhlerAffiliated withNordic School of Public Health

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The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of parent-reported pain among children in the Nordic countries in 1996, and to describe the association between recurrent pain in children and parental socio-economic factors. We also wanted to estimate the association between parental pain and childhood pain and co-occurrence of different pain patterns in the same child. Data were obtained from a cross-sectional survey on children's health and well-being in the Nordic countries in 1996. About 10, 000 children aged 2–17 years of age were selected from population registries. Mean response rate was 68%. We selected the cases ≥7 years where the respondent was the child's biological mother or father, yielding a total of 6230 subjects. The adjusted analyses were performed using logistic regression in SPSS. The total prevalence of headache, abdominal pain and back pain among children 7–17 years of age was 14.9, 8.3 and 4.7%, respectively. The most common pain combination was headache and abdominal pain. Pain was most frequent among girls. The prevalence was slightly higher in low educated or low-income families compared to those of high status. Children living in low educated, low-income, worker families had approximately a 1.4-fold odds of having pain. There was a strong association between the different pain conditions, and between pain and other forms of distress in the same child. A site-specific association between parental and child pain was also shown, but we assume that this might have been mediated through subjective (information) bias.

Children Co-occurrence Nordic countries Recurrent pain Socio-economic factors