Do parents maintain or exacerbate pediatric functional abdominal pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Health Psychol. 2012 Mar;17(2):258-72. doi: 10.1177/1359105311410513. Epub 2011 Jun 27.


Parents may maintain or exacerbate functional abdominal pain (FAP) in children through modeling of physical symptoms and solicitous responses to the child's complaints. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine these relationships. Parents of children with FAP reported more physical symptoms than parents of healthy children (effect size d = .36). As all studies were cross-sectional or retrospective, the causal direction was unclear. For parental responses to child complaints, not enough studies were available to perform a meta-analysis. We conclude that the present literature is unfit to establish whether parents maintain or exacerbate pediatric FAP through the processes investigated.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders