OBJECTIVE: To investigate infancy predictors of impairing functional somatic symptoms (FSS) at child ages 5-7 years with a focus on problems with feeding, sleep, and tactile reactivity.
STUDY DESIGN: This study is part of a longitudinal birth cohort study, Copenhagen Child Cohort CCC2000. Child health, development, and functioning were assessed by community health nurses at 4 home visits from birth to age 10 months. FSS at ages 5-7 years were measured by the Soma Assessment Interview in 1327 children. Sociodemographic data and information on maternal psychiatric illness were obtained from the Danish National Registers.
RESULTS: Multiple logistic regression analysis controlled for maternal psychiatric illness and annual household income revealed that combined infancy regulatory problems (ie, at least 2 of 3 problems of feeding, sleeping, or tactile reactivity during the first 10 months of living) predicted impairing FSS at 5-7 years (aOR = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.3-6.6). Maternal psychiatric illness during the child's first year of living was also associated with later child FSS (aOR = 7.1, 95% CI: 1.8-27.8).
CONCLUSION: Regulatory problems may be an early marker of disturbed sensory reactivity in young children, which together with maternal psychiatric problems, point to possible early risk mechanisms of impairing FSS in childhood.