Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety Sensitivity in Youngsters with Noncardiac Chest Pain and Benign Heart Murmurs

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Objective: Chest pain in children and adolescents is rarely associated with cardiac disease. We sought to examine psychological symptoms in youngsters with medically unexplained chest pain. We hypothesized that children and adolescents with medically unexplained chest pain would have high rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Methods: We assessed 65 youngsters with noncardiac chest pain (NCCP) and 45 comparison youngsters with benign heart murmurs using self-report measures of anxiety and depressive symptoms and anxiety sensitivity. Results: Compared with the asymptomatic benign-murmur group, youngsters with NCCP had higher levels of some anxiety symptoms and anxiety sensitivity. Differences on depressive symptoms were not significant. Conclusions: Though preliminary, results suggest that youngsters with chest pain may experience increased levels of some psychological symptoms. Future studies of noncardiac chest pain in youngsters should include larger samples and comprehensive diagnostic assessments as well as long-term follow-up evaluations.


10.1093/jpepsy/jsh062Final published version Open

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