The course of mental health problems in children presenting with abdominal pain in general practice

J. Passchier, M.J. Gieteling, Y. Lisman-Van Leeuwen, B.W. Koes, M.Y. Berger

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective. To investigate the course of mental health problems in children presenting to general practice with abdominal pain and to evaluate the extent to which abdominal pain characteristics during follow-up predict the presence of mental health problems at 12 months' follow-up. Design. A prospective cohort study with one-year follow-up. Setting. 53 general practices in the Netherlands, between May 2004 and March 2006. Subjects. 281 children aged 4-17 years. Main outcome measures. The presence of a depressive problem, an anxiety problem, and multiple non-specific somatic symptoms at follow-up and odds ratios of duration, frequency, and severity of abdominal pain with these mental health problems at follow-up. Results. A depressive problem persisted in 24/74 children (32.9%; 95% CI 22.3-44.9%), an anxiety problem in 13/43 (30.2%; 95% CI 17.2-46.1%) and the presence of multiple non-specific somatic symptoms in 75/170 children (44.1%; 95% CI 36.7-51.6%). None of the abdominal pain characteristics predicted a depressive or an anxiety problem at 12 months' follow-up. More moments of moderate to severe abdominal pain predicted the presence of multiple non-specific somatic symptoms at follow-up. Conclusions. In one-third of the children presenting to general practice for abdominal pain, anxiety and depressive problems persist during one year of follow-up. Characteristics of the abdominal pain during the follow-up period do not predict anxiety or depressive problems after one-year follow-up. We recommend following over time children seen in primary care with abdominal pain. © 2012 Informa Healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-120
JournalScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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