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Cross-sectional study
British secondary school students report frequent abdominal pain with associated physical and emotional symptoms
  1. John M Rosen,
  2. Miguel Saps
  1. Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Miguel Saps
    Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 225 E Chicago Avenue, Box 65, Chicago, IL 60611, USA; msaps{at}luriechildrens.org

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Commentary on: Vila M, Kramer T, Obiols JE, et al. Abdominal pain in British young people: associations, impairment and health care use. J Psychosom Res 2012;73:437–42.

Implications for practice and research

  • Abdominal pain is common in children, and frequently associated with anxiety, depression, school absenteeism and physical complaints such as headache and limb pain.

  • Assessment and treatment of children with abdominal pain should be underpinned by a biopsychosocial approach.

  • Functional abdominal pain research should use standardised research tools and definitions such as the Rome III criteria.

Context

Between 20% and 40% of school children have weekly abdominal pain accounting for 2–4% of childhood medical consultations in the USA.1 ,2 Most abdominal pain is functional; no anatomical, biochemical or structural abnormalities are found. The health system burden and impairment of affected children remains poorly understood. Studies cannot be accurately extrapolated across countries, cultures and …

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