Background: Chronic, recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is common in children and adolescents where it impacts on everyday life, causes absence from school, and leads to frequent medical consultations.
Aims: to establish to what extent psychosocial factors and negative life events can be identified in children with
Methods: we investigated 78 children with functional abdominal pain (age 5-14 y). One hundred thirty-one healthy school children acted as controls. Questionnaires were used for to assess psychological symptoms, negative life events and socioeconomic factors. The psychological assessment comprised 3 clinical scales (Depression, Anxiety and Behavior) totaling 35 items and was answered by the parents. Scores were calculated (separately and totally) and correlated with those of controls.
Results: Family movement, economic difficulties and low socioeconomic status correlated significantly with RAP (p<0.05). Children manifested, more frequent anxiety, depression indicative factors (dysthymic depression, attitude derangement) and behavior derangement (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Psychological factors, low socioeconomic status, family movement and severe economic difficulties were found significantly more frequently in children with functional abdominal pain and may well influence symptoms expression in childhood.