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Program Benefits Children With Functional Abdominal Pain

Last Updated: January 04, 2013.

Both children with persistent abdominal pain and their parents still benefit from a short social learning and cognitive behavioral therapy intervention a year later, according to a study published online Dec. 31 in JAMA Pediatrics.

FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Both children with persistent abdominal pain and their parents still benefit from a short social learning and cognitive behavioral therapy intervention a year later, according to a study published online Dec. 31 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Rona L. Levy, M.S.W., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues randomly assigned 200 children with persistent functional abdominal pain and their parents to education and support or three sessions of social learning and cognitive behavioral therapy.

After 12 months, the researchers found that children who received social learning and cognitive behavioral therapy had greater decreases in gastrointestinal symptom severity and greater improvements in pain-coping responses than children who received education and support. Parents who received social learning and cognitive behavioral therapy had greater decreases in solicitous responses to their child's symptoms and greater decreases in maladaptive beliefs regarding their child's pain compared with parents who received education and support.

"Results suggest long-term efficacy of a brief intervention to reduce parental solicitousness and increase coping skills," Levy and colleagues conclude. "Given the relative low cost of this intervention, pediatricians should consider the incorporation of these strategies into their treatment plan for children with this common complaint."

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