Risk Categorization Predicts Disability in Pain-associated Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders after 6 Months

Academic Article


  • Introduction: For a large portion of youth, pain-associated functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are associated with significant impairment over time. Clinically feasible methods to categorize youth with FGIDs at greatest risk for persistent pain-related impairment have not yet been identified. Methods: Measures of functional disability, pain intensity, and anxiety were collected on 99 patients with FGIDs (ages 8-18) during a visit to a pediatric gastroenterology office to assess for the presence of risk. Follow-up data were obtained on a subset of this sample (n=64) after 6 months, either in person or via mail. The present study examined whether a greater number of risk factors at baseline predicted greater pain-related disability at follow-up. Results: Patients were divided into 4 groups based on number of risk factors present at the initial assessment: 0 (18.2%), 1 (24.2%), 2 (26.3%), and 3 (31.3%). The presence of 2 or 3 risk factors significantly predicted greater disability at follow-up compared to those with 0 risk factors (R 2 =0.311) and those with just 1 risk factor (Cohen's d values of -1.07 and -1.44, respectively). Discussion: A simple approach to risk categorization can identify youth with FGIDs who are most likely to report increased levels of pain-related impairment over time. These findings have important clinical implications that support the utility of a brief screening process during medical care to inform referral for targeted treatment approaches to FGIDs.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cunningham NR; Jagpal A; Peugh J; Farrell MK; Cohen MB; Mezoff AG; Lynch-Jordan A; Kashikar-Zuck S
  • Start Page

  • 685
  • End Page

  • 690
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 5