a1 Department of Public Health, University of Tampere, Finland
School children (N = 2013) completed questionnaires in class on three occasions over a period of 17 months. Life stress data for 12 months were gathered retrospectively in the last questionnaire. Life events and interpersonal problems were associated with psychosomatic symptoms. In terms of change in symptoms, the impact of life events and interpersonal problems was demonstrated in boys but not in girls. Though boys with a history of no events or problems had lower symptom scores than girls, boys with a history of many events or problems caught up with the girls by the end of the follow-up period. On the other hand, symptom differences related to life stress scores were already apparent at the beginning of the study, and these differences were greater in girls than in boys.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr H. Aro, Department of Public Health, University of Tampere, Box 607, SF-33101 Tampere 10, Finland