Functional Abdominal Pain in Relation to Behavioral Pattern Triggers in Children

Dhanasekhar Kesavelu, Keerthi Pai, Krishna Chaitanya Veligandla


Background: Functional abdominal pain (FAP) in children is a common problem encountered by clinicians. The etiology of FAP is multifactorial and this study explains the correlates of FAP to certain behavioral patterns in children. This is the first Indian study which looks into this area.

Methods: Eighteen participants between 4 and 18 years old who had consulted pediatric gastroenterologist with abdominal pain in one single multi-specialty hospital were included. A written consent was obtained from parents. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was given to the parents to understand the various behavioral problems in the children; and intelligence quotient (IQ) assessments were done in all children. A 5-point Likert scale was used to assess anxiety in children which was rated by the child.

Results: The CBCL identified the stressors reported by children such as academic pressure, difficulty to comprehend, need for affection from parents, interpersonal problems at home (frequent arguments between parents, comparison with a brighter sibling) and poor self-esteem. It is observed that 11/18 (61%) children had average or above average IQ and 7/18 (39%) children had low average or dull IQ. The anxiety levels of children in majority, 16 out of 18 children (88.8%) who presented with FAP, were found to be high or very high on a Likert scale.

Conclusions: Children with FAP have variable IQ levels and high anxiety levels. The need for clinicians to counsel parents and children in order to address the stressors at home and school is warranted as this may help in management of FAP in children. Further multi-centric research is necessary to understand these findings in Indian children.

Int J Clin Pediatr. 2020;9(2):31-34


Functional abdominal pain; Behavioral patterns; CBCL; IQ

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