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14-06-2018 | Uitgave 10/2018

Quality of Life Research 10/2018

Quality of life among parents seeking treatment for their child’s functional abdominal pain

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2018
Claudia Calvano, Petra Warschburger



Dealing with a child who suffers from functional abdominal pain (FAP) is a major challenge for the child’s parents. However, little is known about the quality of life (QoL) of this group of parents. Therefore, this cross-sectional study aimed to provide a comprehensive analysis of parental QoL among parents seeking treatment for their child’s abdominal pain.


133 parents of 7–13-year-old children diagnosed with FAP reported on their health-related QoL (HRQoL), as assessed by the SF-12, and on caregiver-related QoL, as assessed by two CHQ-PF50 scales (emotional impact, time impact). T tests were used to compare the parents’ scores on these measures with reference scores. Subgroups which were at risk of impairment were defined by cut-off scores. Determinants of parental QoL were identified by hierarchical regression analyses.


While the parents showed significantly poorer mental health compared to population-based reference samples (d = 0.33–0.58), their physical health did not differ. However, parents were severely strained with respect to the time impact and emotional impact of their child’s health (d = 0.33–1.58). While 12.7–27.9% of the parents were at risk of poor HRQoL, 60.6–70.1% were highly strained due to the demands of their role as caregivers. Physical and mental health were best explained by parents’ psychiatric symptoms, while parents’ perception of their child’s impairment additionally determined the high time and emotional impact.


Physical HRQoL is not impaired in the majority of parents seeking treatment for their child’s functional abdominal pain. However, the time demands and worries due to the child’s pain deserve specific attention. Psychosocial interventions for a child’s FAP should include information provided to the parents about coping with time constraints and emotional impact. Further prospective studies are warranted.

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