To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study in a population of adolescents to examine the association between psychosomatic symptoms and resilience. Our data indicate that psychosomatic symptoms were more frequent in girls and older adolescents and that, in both sexes, increased resilience was associated with being less affected by psychosomatic symptoms. Young people often experience different challenges that can call into question their ability to cope, making the presentation of psychosomatic symptoms more frequent in the adolescent population. Our data indicating increased psychosomatic symptoms in girls and older adolescents coincides with the findings previously published in the academic literature . Both boys and girls have similar problems at early ages but the differences according to sex become more evident in adolescence. The age range included in our sample was narrow (15 to 18 years) but nonetheless, we found significant differences between the groups aged 15–16 and 17–18 years for all the psychosomatic symptoms except for ‘little appetite’.
During adolescence, boys and girls experience different but specific challenges related to sex and age as part of their development. Thus, it is likely that pubertal processes are a common cause of many of the psychosomatic complaints in girls  because their physical changes are more drastic as the result of menstruation and hormonal fluctuations . The consequence of these factors may be a poorer perception of quality of life among adolescent girls; this would tie in with some studies reporting that psychosomatic complaints are clinical forms of the expression of emotional problems that negatively affect quality of life and which can become especially visible in lower mood states and with the increased perception of stress .
Our results indicate that ‘concentrating difficulties’ and ‘felt tense’ were the symptoms that occurred most frequently in both sexes and age groups. The joint presence of these symptoms could be related to a depressive state , which more commonly affects women . Indeed, some studies have suggested that, in the absence of disease, depression may be the general consequence of stress in the academic environment, with stress increasing as the demands on educational competence increases . Moreover, the literature indicates that psychological well-being is positively correlated with academic results . Stress related to academic performance can translate into psychosomatic complaints when adolescents feel tired because the requirements of a given situation exceed their resources and capacities . If this imbalance is very pronounced, distress appears, resulting in negative thoughts and emotions and a decrease in academic results .
In this sense, researchers have indicated that prolonged stress can facilitate the presence of psychosomatic symptoms . The influence of a depressed mood on other health problems can be explained because negative affective states directly affect physiological functioning and therefore also influence the development of psychosomatic symptoms . It is very important to heed these symptoms during adolescence because they can affect both activities in the academic environment [class attendance, motivation towards learning, grades, etc.] as well as the perception of physical and psychological health, self-esteem, and the sense of accomplishment, all of which can have important implications on the health of adolescents, sometimes for life .
In terms of resilience, similar to our study, the limited research that has addressed differences according to sex and age among healthy adolescents to date suggests that boys fare significantly better than girls . However, regardless of sex, the regression models we created (which controlled for age and sex) showed that the capacity for resilience was a good predictor of fewer psychosomatic symptoms in our population, with the strongest associations being found between ‘felt sad’ and ‘concentrating difficulties.’ Resilience can be considered as a personal resource, a positive characteristic that helps individuals to adapt to changes, mitigates the effects of stress, and minimizes depressive states . Studies indicate that resilience is related to subjective well-being and that stressful events can influence feelings of sadness. However, it is not the quantity or number of stressful events that is important but rather, their interpretation; in other words, how they are perceived, thought about, and responded to . This allows us to conclude that this ability is not only relevant to improving mental health, but also to help cushion and minimize the negative consequences of stress .
Sadness is felt with great intensity during adolescence because the biological and psychosocial life events that occur in this period are magnified and ruptures occur that are experienced with great drama . Adolescents use their life skills to regulate these feelings, however, some find it difficult to cope with these states of sadness and so they are often associated with the appearance of pathologies such as depressive disorders or anxiety . Sadness is one of the main symptoms of depression. Indeed, some studies predict that depressive disorders will become a global disease burden over the coming decades . Depression in adolescents is complex and its presence places them at a higher risk of suicide than adults, leads to social deficiencies such as a tendency to consume toxic substances, and can also be at the root of educational deficiencies that may have negative consequences for their adult lives .
Furthermore, difficulty concentrating can affect the achievement of pedagogical objectives and, if it persists over time, can lead to academic failure with implications for the biopsychosocial development of adolescents and their environments. This can lead to a reduction in opportunities for them to participate in the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of society. In fact, some studies have indicated that resilience is a significant positive predictor of academic performance . Thus, ideally, a positive social environment should be fostered both in educational centers and in family environments during this complex stage of life. Nonetheless, promoting resilience could increase the capacities and resources available to adolescents to cope with demanding situations and to develop alternative responses to problems that affect their mental health.