In this study, we compared several aspects of the emotional functioning of schoolchildren reporting very few somatic complaints (n = 59), schoolchildren reporting many somatic complaints (n = 61), and a clinical group of children with functional abdominal complaints who visited the outpatient clinical of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam (n = 33). The children had an average age of 10.6 years. We studied whether general moods (happiness, anger, fear, and sadness), symptoms of depressiveness, emotion awareness, and sense of coherence contributed to group classification. Eighty-three percent of the schoolchildren reporting very few somatic complaints were identified correctly on the basis of better emotional functioning. However, there was little difference in the emotional functioning of schoolchildren with many somatic complaints and that of the clinical group. We concluded that the variables studied are valuable for differentiating children who are troubled by somatic complaints from children experiencing few somatic complaints. The results stress the existence of emotional problems in children reporting many somatic complaints. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.