Abdominal pain in Dutch schoolchildren: relationships with physical and psychological co-morbid complaints in children and their parents

S.M.C. van der Veek, H.H.F. Derkx, E. de Haan, M.A. Benninga, F. de Boer

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Objectives: Children with functional abdominal pain (FAP) frequently report comorbid complaints such as anxiety and activity limitations. Their parents often experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and somatization. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether these comorbid complaints in children and their parents are specific for FAP or can also be found in a community sample.
Patients and Methods: Six hundred sixty-five schoolchildren (ages 7-18 years) filled out questionnaires concerning AP, activity limitations, somatic complaints, quality of life, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. A total of 391 of their parents filled out questionnaires concerning parental anxiety, depression, and somatization. Pearson correlations and multiple regression analyses were performed.
Results: A total of 56.5% of the children reported AP at least once in a 2-week period. Univariate relations with AP were found for activity limitations (r = 0.392), somatic complaints (r = 0.408), 3 of 5 domains of quality of life (r ranging from -0.120 to -0.209), and symptoms of anxiety and depression (r, respectively, 0.329 and 0.361). Multivariate analyses showed only significant relations for female sex ([beta] = 0.230), younger age ([beta] = -0.077), activity limitations ([beta] = 0.247), somatic complaints ([beta] = 0.170), and depressive symptoms ([beta] = 0.093).
Conclusions: Activity limitations, somatic complaints, and depressive symptoms are related to AP in the general population, whereas a reduced quality of life, anxiety, and parental internalizing problems seem specific comorbid complaints for FAP. Future research on parental internalizing problems, quality of life, and anxiety as risk factors for FAP is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-487
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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