Somatoform disorders in children and adolescents: a review of the past 10 years

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997 Oct;36(10):1329-38. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199710000-00014.


Objective: To review the literature on somatoform disorders in children and adolescents relevant to recertification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Method: The psychiatric, pediatric, and psychological literatures were searched for clinical or research articles in the past 10 years dealing with somatization and somatoform disorders.

Results: Somatizing presentations are organized conceptually; somatization disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis, conversion disorder, vocal cord dysfunction, pain disorder, and recurrent abdominal pain are described in children and adolescents; empirical evidence for treatment efficacy is scant, but clinically reasonable approaches are applied.

Conclusion: More developmentally appropriate diagnostic schemas and better outcome studies are needed in all the somatoform disorders for children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / therapy