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Lancet. 1984 Feb 25;1(8374):439-40.

Psychological problems in children with abdominal pain.


The prevalence of psychological problems was investigated in 44 children with abdominal pain of organic origin (Crohn's disease, 24; ulcerative colitis, 20), 16 children with non-organic abdominal pain, and 30 pain-free controls. A self-report battery of five tests was used to measure personal, family, and social adjustment. Compared with controls, all three abdominal-pain groups showed psychological problems. Of significance were depression and low self-esteem in patients with Crohn's disease, depression in those with ulcerative colitis, and low self-esteem in those with non-organic pain. No differences were found between patients with organic and those with non-organic pain. These findings indicate that psychological distress accompanies both organic and non-organic abdominal pain in children and that psychological evaluation may not readily distinguish organic from non-organic cases.

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