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Teen Insecurity Linked to Depression, Pain Complaints

Canadian researchers believe teenage anxiety can lead to physical and mental health issues.

Researchers from the Université de Montréal, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and McGill University found that insecure adolescents experience more intense pain in the form of frequent headaches, abdominal pain and joint pain.

Moreover, these teens were more likely to be depressed than peers with secure attachments.

Researchers launched this study to build on previous findings that childhood experiences play a major role in the relationships people develop in later life.

Simply put: insecure infants grow up to be insecure adolescents, and later, insecure adults.

“Although previous studies in adults found that an individual’s security level was influenced by painful experiences, it was not clear why relationship security should be related to pain,” says Dr. Tremblay.

“We found that adolescents with insecure relationships tend to be more ‘alarmist’ about their pain symptoms; they have a tendency to amplify the degree of threat or severity of their pain. This amplification leads to more intense pain and more severe depressive symptoms.”

Some 382 students, from grades 8 through 12, were recruited for the study from a Francophone high school in Montreal, Canada. Participants were asked to fill questionnaires on the frequency and intensity of their emotional and physical pain.

“It is possible that individuals who have insecure relationships may perceive the world as more threatening or more stressful and that manifests in physical symptoms,” says Dr. Sullivan.

“Alternately, it is possible that individuals who feel insecure might ‘express’ more intense distress as a means of eliciting support from others in their social environment.”

Interpersonal factors must be considered when managing adolescent experiences of pain and depression, according to the researchers.

“Adolescents have different health and mental health needs than adults. Although interpersonal factors have not been considered integral components of the treatment of pain and depression in adults, these factors might need to be considered in the treatment of adolescents,” stresses Dr. Sullivan.

The study is published in the Journal of Pain.

Source: University of Montreal

Teen Insecurity Linked to Depression, Pain Complaints

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Teen Insecurity Linked to Depression, Pain Complaints. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/30/teen-insecurity-linked-to-depression-pain-complaints/9826.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jul 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.