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J R Soc Med. 1982 October; 75(10): 772–776.
PMCID: PMC1438140

Hospital admissions for abdominal pain in childhood.


From January to March 1980, a consecutive sample of 50 children admitted to hospital with acute abdominal pain provisionally diagnosed as appendicitis but who recovered spontaneously without a specific physical diagnosis was studied. The instruments used were a standardized parental interview and Rutter A(2) and B(2) questionnaires which are designed as screening devices to explore levels of emotional adjustment in children. A comparison was made with 43 children (controls) matched for sex and age from the same schools. Forty children suffering from acute appendicitis were studied in the same way. A significantly increased number of children in the nonspecific group obtained abnormal scores on the Rutter Scales compared with the control group (P less than 0.025). An unexpectedly large number (31%) of boys suffering from acute appendicitis obtained abnormal scores on the Rutter Scales. Postal follow up three months following discharge from hospital indicated that 8 (16%) of the nonspecific group were incapacitated to the extent of missing school. During the study, 15 children had a normal appendix removed at operation. Seven of them showed a significant degree of maladjustment.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Barraclough BM. Appendicectomy in men. J Psychosom Res. 1967 Aug;11(2):203–206. [PubMed]
  • Barraclough BM. Appendicectomy in women. J Psychosom Res. 1968 Oct;12(3):231–234. [PubMed]
  • Creed F. Life events and appendicectomy. Lancet. 1981 Jun 27;1(8235):1381–1385. [PubMed]
  • Drake DP. Acute abdominal pain in children. J R Soc Med. 1980 Sep;73(9):641–645. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jones PF. Acute abdominal pain in childhood, with special reference to cases not due to acute appendicitis. Br Med J. 1969 Feb 1;1(5639):284–286. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • MacKEITH R, O'NEILL D. Recurrent abdominal pain in children. Lancet. 1951 Aug 18;2(6677):278–282. [PubMed]

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