Relationship between the decision to take a child to the clinic for abdominal pain and maternal psychological distress

Rona L. Levy, Shelby Langer, Lynn S. Walker, Lauren D. Feld, William E. Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Among adults with functional gastrointestinal disorders, psychological distress influences who consults a physician, but little is known about predictors of consultation when the patient is a child. Objective: To determine the relative contributions of psychological symptoms of the mother, psychological symptoms of the child, severity of child abdominal pain, and family stress to consultation. Design: Observational study. Setting: Health maintenance organization. Participants: Two hundred seventy-five mothers of 334 children who had abdominal pain in the past 2 weeks, as per child self-report. Main Outcome Measures: Mothers completed questionnaires about themselves (Symptom Checklist 90-Revised) and their children (school absences, medication use, and the Child Behavior Checklist). Children completed the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire to assess perceived pain severity. Results: Thirty-nine children had been taken to the clinic for abdominal pain symptoms at least once in the past 3 months (consulters), whereas 295 were nonconsulters. Logistic regression analyses revealed that both the child's self-report of perceived pain severity (P<.001) and maternal psychological symptoms (P=.006) predicted consultation. Although children who visited physicians had significantly more psychological symptoms, this was not a significant predictor of consultation after adjusting for maternal psychological symptoms. Family stress did not predict consultation. Conclusion: The decision to take a child to the clinic for abdominal pain is best predicted by maternal psychological distress and the child's perceived pain severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-965
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Volume160
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Abdominal Pain
Mothers
Psychology
Referral and Consultation
Pain
Checklist
Self Report
Physicians
Health Maintenance Organizations
Gastrointestinal Diseases
Child Behavior
Observational Studies
Logistic Models
Regression Analysis
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Relationship between the decision to take a child to the clinic for abdominal pain and maternal psychological distress. / Levy, Rona L.; Langer, Shelby; Walker, Lynn S.; Feld, Lauren D.; Whitehead, William E.

In: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 160, No. 9, 2006, p. 961-965.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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