Parental Deployment and Healthcare Utilization in Adolescents with Migraines and Other Somatic Symptoms
Somatic symptoms in adolescents are associated with psychosocial stress. Parental military deployment can function as a stressor for adolescents. A retrospective cohort study was developed exploring relationships between health care utilization, a proxy for symptomatology, and sponsor deployment in adolescents with somatic symptoms. Data was obtained from the Military Health System Data Repository. Migraine headaches was the most common somatic symptom diagnosis. Parental deployment was overall associated with a 27% decrease in visits for somatic symptoms. For adolescents whose sponsor was female, deployment was associated with a 34% decrease in visits. This pattern is inconsistent with prior research on somatic symptoms and psychosocial stressors. Potential causes of this discrepancy are discussed in the context of military family life.