A PSYCHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF RECURRENT ABDOMINAL PAIN
JAKOB, SUSAN VIVIAN
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The purpose of this study was to determine the psychological characteristics which differentiate preadolescent girls (aged 10-13) with Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) from preadolescent girls without RAP. The study investigated three variables--dependency needs; conflict about sexuality; and predisposition to somatization--in three populations: preadolescent girls diagnosed as having RAP (a psychogenic disorder), preadolescent girls diagnosed as having Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (an organic disease), and a control group of physically well preadolescent girls. The researcher administered the following tests: the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised, Human Figure Drawings, Thematic Apperception Test, the Rorschach and a Parent Questionnaire. Two independent psychologists blindly scored all the tests. Most of the statistical results indicated that significant differences did not exist between the groups. However, the parent questionnaire proved somewhat useful in differentiating the RAP group from the other two groups in terms of dependency. Clinical evidence also supported the view that RAP girls seemed to have increased dependency needs. This finding is consonant with previous literature on psychogenic disorders.