Frequency of somatic symptoms and student perception of school belonging and competence


Kirkpatrick, Kathryn (2012). Frequency of somatic symptoms and student perception of school belonging and competence. 2012 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


When students report frequent somatic symptoms, they may be at increased risk both academically and socially (Beck, 2008). Perceived school belonging and competence have both been linked to academic outcomes (Anderman & Anderman, 1999; Elliott, McGregor & Thrash, 2002). This study was designed to explore relations between frequency of somatic symptoms and levels of perceived school belonging and competence. Wave I of the Add Health public access data set (Harris, 2009) was used for this study. Latent factors were identified for a structural equation measurement model of perceived belonging (5 items, α=.761) and competence (3 items, α=.717). After cross-validation of the measurement model, a structured means model was used to compare groups of students based on frequency of somatic complaints (high, middle, low). Somatic symptoms were measured with a sum score of 10 items describing physical complaints. The measurement model fit the data well (RMSEA=.047; GFI=.991). Differences (all p<.001) in levels of perceived school belonging and competence were identified across all groups. Belonging and competence are both related to frequent experience of somatic symptoms; competence has a stronger relation with frequency of symptoms. Future research is needed to explore variables that might be serving as moderators or mediators to explain the differences related to levels of somatic complaints.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2012 Add Health Users Conference


Kirkpatrick, Kathryn

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID