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Impact of the first COVID-19 lockdown on the relationship with parents and peers in a cohort of adolescents with somatic symptom disorder

  • Trombetta, Andrea
  • De Nardi, Laura
  • Cozzi, Giorgio
  • Ronfani, Luca
  • Bigolin, Lara
  • Barbi, Egidio
  • Bramuzzo, Matteo
  • Abbracciavento, Giuseppe
Published Article
Italian Journal of Pediatrics
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jun 20, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s13052-022-01300-y
PMID: 35725564
PMCID: PMC9207852
PubMed Central
  • Letter to the Editor


To investigate the coping strategies of a group of adolescents with somatic symptom disorder compared to non-somatic symptom disorder peers during the COVID-19 related lockdown. This cross-sectional study is the second part of a previously published study showing an improved trend in depression and anxiety in a group of patients with somatic symptom disorder compared to non-somatic symptom disorder peers. An anonymous semi-structured survey was distributed to two groups of Italian adolescents to measure the impact of quarantine on their daily life and coping strategies. We recruited 115 adolescents, 58 (50.4%) mean age 15.3, with a recent diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder and 57 (49.6%) mean age 15.8, control peers. The aim of this study was to detect differences in coping strategies and relationships with parents and peers, during the lockdown period in a group of adolescents with somatic symptom disorder and low disease burden when compared with a non-somatic symptom disorder group. The relationship with parents significantly worsened in 4 (6.9%) of adolescents with somatic symptom disorder compared to 12 (21.1%) adolescents in the non-somatic symptom disorder group ( p = 0.048 ). The relationship with peers significantly improved in 13 (22.4%) of adolescents with symptom disorder versus 3 (5.3%) of peers of the non- somatic symptom disorder group (p = 0.013) . Adolescents with somatic symptom disorder with a low burden of physical symptoms experienced less deterioration in their relationships with parents and peers than the non-somatic symptom disorder group. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s13052-022-01300-y.

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