A randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral family intervention for pediatric recurrent abdominal pain

J Pediatr Psychol. 2005 Jul-Aug;30(5):397-408. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsi063. Epub 2005 Feb 23.


Objective: To investigate whether the combination of standard medical care (SMC) and short-term cognitive-behavioral family treatment (CBT) in the treatment of recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) was more effective than SMC alone.

Methods: Children recently diagnosed with RAP via physician examination were randomized into SMC (n = 29) and SMC plus CBT (n = 40) groups. Outcome measures included multiple dimensions of child and parent reported child pain, somatization, and functional disability, and school absences and physician contacts.

Results: Children and parents participating in the combined SMC + CBT intervention reported significantly less child and parent reported child abdominal pain than children in the SMC intervention immediately following the intervention and up to 1 year following study entry, as well as significantly fewer school absences. Significant differences in functional disability and somatization were not revealed.

Conclusions: These results, in combination with previous studies, add support to the effectiveness of CBT intervention in reducing the sensory aspects of RAP. Results are discussed with respect to the cost-benefit of integrated medical and short-term psychological services.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / economics
  • Abdominal Pain / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Pain / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / economics
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology