Collaboration with medical professionals in clinical practice: pediatric abdominal pain as a case example

Fam Syst Health. 2012 Dec;30(4):279-90. doi: 10.1037/a0030465.


Pediatric abdominal pain is a common childhood complaint. Available conceptualizations of the condition point toward an interdisciplinary approach to care as having the highest utility. The current study sets out to describe practice patterns among psychologists treating pediatric abdominal pain, the degree to which such practitioners engage in collaborative behaviors, barriers they experience to collaboration, and their overall satisfaction with their collaborative efforts. A survey of American Psychological Association members revealed that psychologists are engaging in the treatment of pediatric abdominal pain in high numbers and that those practitioners who find ways to engage in collaboration consistent with an interdisciplinary approach are more satisfied with their collaborations. The majority of barriers to collaboration appeared due to inflexibility in the health care system rather than a dispositional barrier on the part of a physician, patient, or the psychologist. Psychologists practicing in medical settings receive some relief from the systemic barriers experienced by psychologists in other settings.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Psychology, Child / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*