A management model for pediatric somatization

Psychosomatics. Nov-Dec 2001;42(6):467-76. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.42.6.467.


Medically unexplained physical symptoms are common in pediatric settings, though little systematic research is available to guide the development of treatment efforts for pediatric somatization and somatoform disorders. This paper presents a management model for pediatric somatization based on principles distilled from the available pediatric and adult literature. Careful assessment, frank presentation of the diagnosis, and a cognitive-behavioral and rehabilitative approach are emphasized, along with aggressive psychiatric treatment of comorbid psychopathology. Well-designed empirical studies of intervention are needed that should examine efficacy as well as the relationship between symptomatic improvement, functional improvement, and comorbid anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management
  • Factitious Disorders / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy*


  • Psychotropic Drugs