Low Back Pain in Schoolchildren A Study of Familial and Psychological Factors

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Study Design

The results of a survey organized in the school system of the Swiss canton of Fribourg. An original questionnaire was developed for this study are reported.


The goal of this study was to evaluate the possible role of familial or psychological factors in schoolchildren reporting nonspecific low back pain.

Summary of Background Data

Previous surveys have shown a high prevalence of nonspecific low back pain among schoolchildren, particularly teen-agers. The reported familial incidence raises, among others, the question of a possible role of psychological or behavioral factors.


This survey was performed with a validated 43-item self-administered questionnaire eliciting information about back pain history, family characteristics, children's activities, and psychological parameters. All schoolchildren (n = 615), ages 12–17 years, in two secondary schools (Fribourg, Switzerland) were surveyed. The response rate was 98%.


Reported lifetime prevalence of back pain was 74%. Lumbar pain was the most frequent localization of pain (69% of back pain). The measured psychological factors were significantly associated with reported nonspecific low back pain and its consequences as well as with sibling history of low back pain.


The study suggests that psychological factors play a role in children's reporting of nonspecific low back pain.

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