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  1. Bursch, Brenda PhD
  2. Hyman, Paul E. MD


The aim of our study was to characterize the parental perceptions of the behavioral and emotional functioning of their children and families coping with gastrointestinal motility disorders. The American Pseudo-obstruction and Hirschsprung's disease Society sponsored an educational meeting for parents of children afflicted with a variety of pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders. During the conference, parents completed a questionnaire pertaining to the behavioral and emotional functioning of the afflicted child and other family members. Parents perceived that the child's illness was more difficult on the parents than on the affected child or their siblings. Also, parents perceived support from professionals, family, and friends increased after the children were diagnosed with pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders. Parents worried most about the health and medical management of their afflicted child. The most common behavioral problem of the afflicted children was fear of separation, whereas the most common behavioral problem of their siblings was jealousy. The majority of referrals to mental health professionals resulted from parental emotional problems or marital discord.