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Recurrent abdominal pain in children: psychiatric diagnoses and parental psychopathology.

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1
Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203.

Abstract

Approximately 12% of children report recurrent episodes of abdominal pain. In only about 10% of these cases, however, can an organic etiology be identified, and therefore it often is assumed that these children have emotional problems. To test this hypothesis, children with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) with no identifiable organic cause were compared to children with an organic diagnosis for their abdominal pain, children with psychiatric disorders, and healthy controls. Both groups of children with abdominal pain had significantly more psychiatric disorders (predominantly anxiety and depression) than did the healthy group. Both RAP and psychiatric children had significantly higher Child Behavior Checklist internalizing scores; psychiatric children were rated as significantly more maladjusted on the Children's Global Assessment Scale. Mothers of RAP children were significantly more anxious than mothers of organic pain and healthy children. Psychiatric children were significantly more likely than the other three groups to underreport their psychiatric symptoms relative to their mothers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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