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J Pediatr. 2017 Aug;187:272-281.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.017. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

Psychological Interventions for Children with Functional Somatic Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Author information

1
University Medical Center of Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: i.j.bonvanie@umcg.nl.
2
Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
3
University Medical Center of Groningen, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
4
Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Center Risskov, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To analyze the effectiveness of psychological treatments on symptom load and associated disability in children with functional somatic symptoms, and to explore potential moderators of effects.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cochrane, PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched for randomized controlled trials published in peer-reviewed journals. Randomized controlled trials studying the effect of a psychological treatment on symptom load and disability in children with functional somatic symptoms were selected. Data on symptom load, disability, and school absence directly post-treatment and at follow-up were extracted by 2 assessors. Studies were appraised with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Standardized mean differences were pooled in a random-effects model. Heterogeneity in effect-sizes was explored by use of meta-regressions. PROSPERO Registration ID: CRD42015029667.

RESULTS:

Out of 4098 identified records, 27 studies were included in this review of which 21 were included in meta-analyses. Psychological treatments reduced symptom load (Hedges g = -0.61), disability (Hedges g = -0.42), and school absence (Hedges g = -0.51) post-treatment in children suffering from various functional somatic symptoms. Effects were maintained at follow-up. Type and duration of symptoms, age, and treatment dose did not explain heterogeneity in effect-sizes between studies. Effect-sizes should be interpreted with caution because of the variety in outcome measures, unexplained heterogeneity in found effects and potential publication bias.

CONCLUSIONS:

Psychological interventions reduce symptom load, disability, and school absence in children with functional somatic symptoms. Future research should clarify which patient and treatment characteristics modify outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

chronic fatigue syndrome; chronic pain; fibromyalgia; headache; irritable bowel syndrome; medically unexplained; pediatric; therapy; treatment

PMID:
28416243
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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