Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

What's Love Got to Do with It? the Family's Role in Treating Adolescents with Medically Unexplained Symptoms

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

What's Love Got to Do with It? the Family's Role in Treating Adolescents with Medically Unexplained Symptoms

Article excerpt

The Complex Adolescent Clinic at the Department of Adolescent Medicine provides multi-disciplinary treatment for adolescents with complex medico- psycho-social presentations, many of whom have somatic symptoms with no identified organic cause. Studies of young people with these disorders have made a clear connection between the health and wellbeing of the child and the functioning of the family but there has been little examination of the role of family functioning in treatment.

This 12 month prospective study examined how family functioning changes over the course of treatment and whether there is an association between family functioning and treatment outcome. 50 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years (Μ = 14.4, SD = 1.32) and their parents were recruited. All adolescents presented with one or more physical symptoms as their primary complaint. 36per cent of the adolescents met criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The remaining 64 per cent received a DSM-IV diagnosis of one of the Somatoform Disorders. Physical and psychosocial functioning and family relationships were measured at recruitment, four months into treatment and twelve months later. T-tests and MRAs were conducted to examine the relationships between the variables of interest. …

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