Collaborating with Pediatricians and Gastroenterologists: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Lindsay D. Clendaniel
  • Paul E. Hyman
  • John C. Courtney


Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are common in children. Functional constipation, for example, affects about 12% of children (van Dijk, Benninga, Groothenhuis, & Last, 2010), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is found in 14% of adolescents (Hyams, Burke, Davis, Rzepski, & Andrulonis, 1996), and cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) afflicts 2% of children (Abu-Arafeh & Russell, 1995). Pediatric gastrointestinal disorders include both organic disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease) and functional symptoms (i.e., irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, rumination syndrome, etc.). The symptom expression of pediatric GI disorders depends on each child’s cognitive abilities and psychosocial considerations such as adjustment to physical symptoms and body image changes, impact of disease management and treatment, behavioral and emotional disturbances related to symptoms (pain, ­vomiting, incontinence, etc.), family and social functioning, activity restrictions, and school avoidance. Chronic illness also has an impact on parent and sibling adjustment, both emotionally and financially. The child’s understanding of the ­illness varies with their cognitive and emotional stage of development. Due to all of these considerations, a biopsychosocial approach to treating children with GI disorders is critical.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Coping Style Functional Dyspepsia Enteric Nervous System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay D. Clendaniel
    • 1
  • Paul E. Hyman
  • John C. Courtney
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChildren’s Hospital of New OrleansNew OrleansUSA

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