The relation of family and neighborhood socioeconomic status to symptoms and disability in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain
Objective Investigated the relation of family and neighborhood socioeconomic status to symptoms and disability in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain. Hypothesis This study tested the hypothesis that measures of family and neighborhood SES would be highly correlated and that SES would be highly correlated with child symptoms and disability. Thus, lower SES would be associated with higher symptoms and disability. In addition, the study tested the hypothesis that the significant relation between socioeconomic status and child health would be mediated by children's passive coping with pain. Methods Census data was used to obtain measures of neighborhood SES of 566 pediatric patients, ages 8-17 years old. Measures of family SES were obtained from patients' parents. Patients completed questionnaires regarding their symptoms and disability. Results Family and neighborhood SES were highly correlated. There was no significant correlation between neighborhood or family SES and health. Because there was no relationship between SES and child health, we were unable to test whether the relation between SES and child health was mediated by passive coping. In an exploratory analysis, we examined the relation between parent-reported family stress and child health. This relation was significant and was partially mediated by children's passive coping with pain. Conclusions Low socioeconomic status is not correlated with child symptoms or disability. Instead, high levels of child symptoms and disability are related to high levels of family stress, with passive coping acting as a partial mediator between stress and children's health.