A Developmental Perspective on Functional Somatic Symptoms

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To provide a new approach for conceptualizing and studying functional somatic symptoms (FSS) in children and adolescence.


A developmental model is proposed based on the synthesis of the extant literature and previous theoretical perspectives of FSS in children and adolescents.


Multiple risk and protective factors from child, familial, social, and environmental domains, the interactions across risk domains, and potential developmental pathways of FSS are identified.


This article underscores the necessity of taking a broader, developmental view of FSS. The tenets of developmental psychopathology emphasize the utility of viewing FSS on a continuum of severity rather than as a discrete entity or diagnosis. This article concludes with directions for future research and treatment implications.

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