Parental Factors in Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain Disorders: A Cross-Sectional Cohort Study

Judith Zeevenhooven, Juliette M. T. M. Rutten, Marieke van Dijk, Babette Peeters, Marc A. Benninga

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OBJECTIVES: Parental factors are suggested to play a role in pediatric irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional abdominal pain-not otherwise specified (FAP-NOS) and may influence treatment. Since studies on parental factors mainly focus on mothers, this study aims to compare physical health, psychological distress, personality dimensions, and parenting behavior of both parents of children with IBS or FAP-NOS to parents of controls. METHODS: Parents of 91 children with IBS or FAP-NOS were included in this explorative cross-sectional cohort study. Parents of 74 age-matched healthy children were used as controls. Questionnaires were used to measure demographics, physical health, psychological distress and symptoms, personality dimensions, and child-rearing practices. RESULTS: A total of 59 mothers and 52 fathers of 61 children with IBS/FAP-NOS (response rate 61.0%) and 56 mothers and 49 fathers of 59 controls completed the study (response rate 70.9%). Mothers of children with IBS/FAP-NOS reported more physical problems. Psychological distress and symptoms, personality dimensions, and child-rearing practices did not differ between mothers of both groups. Fathers of children with IBS/FAP-NOS had significantly lower scores on the child-rearing practice subscale of ignoring of unwanted behavior. In the IBS/FAP-NOS group, fathers were more depressed and less agreeable than mothers. No differences on all assessed outcomes were found between parents of children with IBS and children with FAP-NOS. CONCLUSIONS: Mothers of children with IBS/FAP-NOS and healthy peers differ with respect to physical health. Fathers in both groups differ with respect to child-rearing style. Clinicians should be aware of these differences when treating children with these disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e20-e26
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date4 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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