Recurrent Abdominal Pain: What Determines Medical Consulting Behavior?
Date of Publication
Digestive Diseases and Sciences
Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is associated with increased health care visits and school absences. In adults suffering from functional pain, psychosocial factors determine illness behavior and we aimed to investigate its role among children. A community sample of 40 RAP consulters, 41 RAP nonconsulters, and 36 pain-free controls and their mothers completed questionnaires on GI and non-GI symptoms, school absences, psychological symptoms, coping, self-esteem, and behavioral and cognitive responses to RAP. T-tests showed significant differences between RAP and controls in (1) GI and non-GI symptoms and school absences, (2) child distress and passive coping, and (3) mother's IBS severity, somatization, and fears about RAP. RAP consulters reported the same levels of GI symptoms and psychological distress as nonconsulters but missed significantly more school and their mothers reported more fears about RAP. Severity of symptoms and psychological distress did not predict consulting behavior. Only maternal fears about abdominal symptoms differentiated consulters from nonconsulters.
Venepalli, N. K.; van Tilburg, Miranda A.; and Whitehead, William E., "Recurrent Abdominal Pain: What Determines Medical Consulting Behavior?" (2006). Pharmacy. 278.