Research report: PDF OnlyEarly pain experience, child and family factors, as precursors of somatization: a prospective study of extremely premature and fullterm childrenGrunau, Ruth V.E.∗,a,b; Whitfield, Michael F.b; Petrie, Julie H.a; Fryer, Louise E.aAuthor Information aDepartment of Psychology, B.C. Children's Hospital, Vancouver, B.C. V6H 3V4 Canada bDepartment of Paediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6H3V4 Canada ∗Correspondig author: Dr. Ruth V.E. Grunau, Department of Psychology, B.C. Children's Hospital. 4480 Oak St., Vancouver, B.C. V6H 3V4, Canada. (Received 2 February 1993; revision received 23 July 1993; accepted 25 August 1993.) Pain: March 1994 - Volume 56 - Issue 3 - p 353-359 doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(94)90174-0 Buy Metrics Abstract In a prospective study of 36 children who were extremely low birthweight (ELBW: < 1000 g) preterm infants and 36 matched full-term controls, differences were found in somatization at age Symbol years. Only children who had been extremely premature, and thereby experienced prolonged hospitalization and repeated medical intervention in infancy, had clinically high somatization scores on the Personality Inventory for Children. The combination of family relations at age Symbol years, neonatal intensive care experience, poor maternal sensitivity to child cues in mother-child interaction observed at age 3 years, and child avoidance of touch or holding at age 3. predicted somatization scores, prior to school entry. Due to the known higher incidence of actual medical problems among children with a history of extreme prematurity, the high somatization ELBW children were compared with the normal somatization ELBW children. There were no differences in prevalence of actual medical problems between the 2 ELBW groups, and the importance of maternal factors in relation to somatization was confirmed. Child temperament at age 3, but not personality at Symbol, was related to somatization. The etiology of recurrent physical complaints of no known medical cause appears to be a multi-dimensional problem. Non-optimal parenting may contribute to the development of inappropriate strategies for coping with common pains of childhood, or of chronic pain patterns, in some children who have experienced prolonged or repeated pain as neonates. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.