Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Recurrent Nonspecific Abdominal Pain in Children: An Analysis of Generalization, Maintenance, and Side Effects

Matthew R. Sanders*, Margaret Rebgetz, Margaret Morrison, William Bor, Amanda Gordon, Mark Dadds, Ross Shepherd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From 10% to 15% of school-aged children experience recurring abdominal pain. This study evaluated the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral program for the treatment of nonspecific recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) using a controlled group design. The multicomponent treatment program consisted of differential reinforcement of well behavior, cognitive coping skills training, and various generalization enhancement procedures. Multiple measures of pain intensity and pain behavior were conducted, including children's self-monitoring, parent observation, teacher observation, and observation by independent observers. Results showed that both the experimental and the control groups reduced their levels of pain. However, the treated group improved more quickly, the effects generalized to the school setting, and a larger proportion of subjects were completely pain-free by 3-months follow-up (87.5% vs. 37.5%). There was no evidence for any negative side effects of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume57
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes

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