Correlation among academic performance, recurrent abdominal pain and other factors in Year-6 urban primary-school children in Malaysia
Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2003
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 39, Issue 5, pages 352–357, July 2003
How to Cite
Boey, C., Omar, A. and Arul Phillips, J. (2003), Correlation among academic performance, recurrent abdominal pain and other factors in Year-6 urban primary-school children in Malaysia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 39: 352–357. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.2003.00173.x
- Issue online: 30 JUL 2003
- Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2003
- Accepted for publication 14 November 2002.
- academic achievement;
- recurrent abdominal pain
Objective: The present study aimed to investigate the extent to which recurrent abdominal pain and other factors were associated with academic achievement among Year-6 (12 years of age) schoolchildren.
Methods: The present study was a cross-sectional survey conducted from September to November 2001. Schoolchildren were recruited from primary schools that were selected randomly from a list of all primary schools in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, using random sampling numbers. Information concerning recurrent abdominal pain, socio-economic status, life events, demographic and other details was obtained using a combination of questionnaires and interviews. Academic achievement was assessed using a score based on the Malaysian Primary School Achievement Examination. An overall score at or above the mean was taken to indicate high academic achievement while a score below the mean indicated poor academic achievement.
Results: A total of 1971 children were studied (958 boys and 1013 girls: 1047 Malays, 513 Chinese and 411 Indians). Of these children, 456 (23.1%) fulfilled the criteria for recurrent abdominal pain. Using the method of binary logistic regression analysis, the following factors were found to be independently associated with poor academic performance: a low socio-economic status (odds ratio (OR) 1.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25−1.35); male sex (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.26−2.05); the death of a close relative (OR 2.22; 95% CI 1.73−2.85); the divorce or separation of parents (OR 3.05; 95% CI 1.73−5.40); the commencement of work by the mother (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.02−1.76); hospitalization of the child in the 12 months prior to the study (OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.12−3.01); lack of health-care consultation (OR 1.80; 95% CI 1.36−2.36); missing breakfast (OR 1.47; 95% CI 1.07−2.02); and lack of kindergarten education (OR 1.35; 95% CI 1.04−1.75).
Conclusions: Many factors, such as socio-economic status and recent life events, were associated with poor academic performance. Recurrent abdominal pain did not correlate directly to academic performance. Stress may be a means by which various factors cause children to struggle academically.