Quality of Life Predictors of Outcome in Pediatric Abdominal Pain Patients: Findings at Initial Assessment and 5-Year Follow-Up
Lynn S. Walker
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Craig Anne Heflinger
Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies
Complaints of recurrent pain, such as abdominal pain or headaches, affect as many as 30% of children and adolescents and are a frequent reason for referral to the pediatric clinic ( McGrath, 1990). Advances in medical technology have increased the number of diagnostic procedures available to the pediatrician seeking a pathophysiological cause of recurrent pain in children. Typically, it is only when these medical diagnostic procedures fail to reveal an organic cause for the pain that an assessment of psychosocial factors is undertaken.
This approach to the evaluation of chronic pain--first rule out organic causes, then look for psychogenic causes--reflects a Cartesian mind-body dualism in which pain is viewed as organic or functional. Recent conceptualizations of pain suggest that this dualism both is overly simplistic and focuses too exclusively on the cause of pain and not on the processes