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OBJECTIVE: To assess whether parental psychological and physical factors and child factors measured in the first year of life were associated with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) in children at age 6(3/4) years. METHOD: A longitudinal cohort study (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), followed 8,272 children from pregnancy to age 6(3/4) years. Parental reports of child and parent functioning were gathered. Associations between parental and child functioning assessed at 6 to 8 months postpartum, and RAP measured at age 6(3/4) years were investigated. RESULTS: The prevalence of RAP in this sample was 11.8%. Both maternal anxiety (adjusted odds ratio = 1.53; 95% confidence interval 1.24-1.89) and paternal anxiety (adjusted odds ratio = 1.38; 95% confidence interval 1.12-1.71) in the first year of a child's life were associated with later childhood RAP. Parent reports of child temperament features such as irregular feeding and sleeping were also associated with later RAP. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first evidence from a prospective study that anxiety in both mothers and fathers and child temperament features predate the occurrence of RAP in children. These findings highlight the potential importance of addressing parental anxiety in families in which children present with RAP, although some caution should be exercised in their interpretation because of possible reporting bias.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry

Publication Date





729 - 736


Abdominal Pain, Anxiety, Child, Cohort Studies, Female, Forecasting, Health Status, Humans, Infant, Male, Odds Ratio, Parents, Recurrence, Schools, Students, Temperament, United Kingdom