Bedwetting may be linked to social status

May 02, 2003

Bedwetting and behavior problems may not be related to each other but, rather, to a child's socioeconomic status, according to a new study.

Previous research hinted at a connection between bedwetting and psychological problems, particularly attention-deficit disorders, say the researchers. But their study is the first to examine how socioeconomic status might be related to bedwetting.

"What seemed to be a marked association between bedwetting and psychological problems is merely the presence of two separate problems mediated by a common underlying factor," say Eline Van Hoecke, M.Sc., of Ghent University Hospital in Belgium and colleagues.

Van Hoecke and colleagues compared 154 children age 6 to 12 with bedwetting problems to a second group of similar age non-bedwetters. Their parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their child's emotional, social and behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, attention problems and aggressive behavior.

Children in the bedwetting group had significantly more behavioral problems than the comparison group, but much of the association between behavior and bedwetting was related to a third factor: socioeconomic status. The researchers calculated that almost 39 percent of the bedwetting group fell into a low socioeconomic status category, while only 23 percent of the non-bedwetters were in the low socioeconomic group.

Van Hoecke and colleagues stress that future research should examine whether other factors, such as distressing life events like divorce or the birth of a sibling, might also contribute to both bedwetting and behavior problems.

The study was published in the April issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and supported by the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders.

Health Behavior News Service: 202-387-2829 or
Interviews: Contact Eline Van Hoecke at 32-092-402-430 or
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: Contact Mary Sharkey at 212-595-7717.

Center for Advancing Health

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