Taking children to the pediatrician?s office for stomachaches and abdominal pain is more prevalent among depressed or anxious mothers, a new study has found. Researchers found that mothers with the highest levels of depression were 2 times as likely to seek medical help for abdominal pain reported by their children, compared with mothers with lower levels of depression.
Using data collected from a larger study that examined how pain and coping mechanisms are transferred from mothers to children, investigators focused on 326 children who had suffered a stomachache or abdominal pain 2 weeks prior to the survey, according to the mothers? responses.They examined a large HMO?s records to determine which mothers had brought the children to a pediatrician for similar complaints in the previous 3 months. The information was then compared with the mothers? psychological states.
Rona L. Levy, PhD, of the University of Washington School of Social Work, presented the findings at a conference of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in March 2003. She said that it is important for pediatricians and parents to realize that a mother?s mental state may influence the decision to seek medical treatment.
One study linked multiple pregnancies to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation later in life, and another investigated the association between premature delivery and cardiovascular disease.
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