Insecure adolescents experience more pain

Nov. 27, 2009 at 4:14 PM

MONTREAL, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Insecure adolescents experience more intense pain in the form of frequent headaches, abdominal pain and joint pain, researchers in Canada found.

Dr. Isabelle Tremblay of the University of Montreal and Dr. Michael Sullivan, a psychology professor at McGill University, said these teens are also more likely to be depressed than peers with secure attachments.

"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," Tremblay said in a statement.

"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, in grades 8 to12, were recruited for the study and asked to fill out questionnaires on the frequency and intensity of their emotional and physical pain.

The study is published in the Journal of Pain.

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