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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • children;
  • functional disability;
  • paediatric;
  • recurrent abdominal pain

Abstract

Background  Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is common in childhood, affecting approximately 12% of children and adolescents. Children with RAP tend to experience impairments in functioning, such as increased school absences, anxiety and depression.

Methods  The current study investigated the potential influences on the relation between functional disability and RAP in 100 school-aged children. A series of hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test two models: main effects and moderation of the relation between abdominal pain symptoms, child anxiety, child depression, maternal emotional distress, maternal encouragement of child illness behaviour and functional disability.

Results  The results indicated support for abdominal pain symptoms and child depression in predicting functional disability. The results also indicated that child anxiety and child depression each moderated the relation between pain symptoms and functional disability.

Conclusions  Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of potential influences on the development of functional disability in youth.