Central European Journal of Medicine

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 125–131 | Cite as

Differences in reporting somatic complaints in elderly by education level

  • Mindaugas Stankunas
  • Joaquim F.J. Soares
  • Aurima Stankuniene
  • M. Gabriella Melchiorre
  • Francisco Torres-Gonzales
  • Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou
  • Henrique Barros
  • Jutta Lindert
Research Article



To evaluate the association between somatic complaints and education level among elders in selected European countries.


Cross-sectional study among randomly selected community dwelling persons aged 60–84 years from seven cities in Europe: Ancona (Italy), Athens (Greece), Granada (Spain), Kaunas (Lithuania), Stuttgart (Germany), Porto (Portugal) and Stockholm (Sweden). Somatic complaints were measured with the 24-item version of the Giessen Complaint List (GBB-24). A regression analysis was done to investigate the association between education and somatic complaints. Results. The mean GBB-24 scale was 16.3±14.9. The most common complaints were pain in joints and limbs (29.6%), back-pain (24.1%), heaviness or tiredness in the legs (19.1%) and general tiredness (15.7%). Respondents with less than primary education reported higher levels of somatic symptoms compared to those with university degree. A regression analysis showed that higher education (OR=0.69) and being male (OR=0.48) were associated with a decreased risk for high levels of somatic complaints, and the opposite for older age (OR=1.03) and being single/divorced/window (OR=1.28).


The results indicate that less educated elders are more likely to expressed somatic complaints.


Somatic complaints Education GBB-24 Elderly Europe ABUEL 


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Copyright information

© Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mindaugas Stankunas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joaquim F.J. Soares
    • 3
  • Aurima Stankuniene
    • 4
  • M. Gabriella Melchiorre
    • 5
  • Francisco Torres-Gonzales
    • 6
  • Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou
    • 7
  • Henrique Barros
    • 8
    • 9
  • Jutta Lindert
    • 10
    • 11
  1. 1.School of Public HealthGriffith UniversityQueenslandAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Health ManagementLithuanian University of Health SciencesKaunasLithuania
  3. 3.Department of Public Health Sciences, Institution for Health SciencesMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden
  4. 4.Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Social PharmacyLithuanian University of Health SciencesKaunasLithuania
  5. 5.Scientific Technological Area, Socio Economic Research CentreItalian National Institute of Health and Science on Aging (INRCA)AnconaItaly
  6. 6.Centro de Investigación Biomedica en Red de Salud Mental” CIBERSAM-Granada UniversityGranadaSpain
  7. 7.Department of SociologyNational School of Public HealthAthensGreece
  8. 8.Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Predictive Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  9. 9.Medical School and Institute of Public Health of the University of PortoPortoPortugal
  10. 10.Department of Public HealthProtestant University of Applied SciencesLudwigsburgGermany
  11. 11.Department of Psychology and SociologyUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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