Integrating psychosocial approaches into the management of childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders: a role for social work

Heinsch M1, Nightingale S2,3. Soc Work Health Care. 2019 Mar 5:1-13. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2019.1581871. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

a Social Work , University Drive, University of Newcastle , Callaghan , Australia.

b Paediatric Gastroenterologist , John Hunter Children's Hospital , Newcastle , Australia.

c GrowUpWell Priority Research Centre , University of Newcastle , Callaghan , Australia.


FGID is one of the most common pain conditions in children and adversely affects their functioning and quality of life. Recent approaches to the management of paediatric FGID recognise the importance of an integrated biopsychosocial approach. Unfortunately, research findings show that psychosocial factors are often not adequately addressed in the management of FGID in children. We recently conducted a survey of 327 paediatric doctors in Australia to investigate their approaches to managing two of the most common childhood FGID - functional abdominal pain (FAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Findings provide important insights into paediatricians' perceptions of the role of psychosocial issues and interventions in these conditions. Implications for social work are discussed.

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