Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology
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Objectives: The appropriateness and relevance of somatic symptom disorder and conversion disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) diagnoses are in question as they relate to pediatric chronic pain. This survey-based study on pediatric chronic pain explores how these psychiatric diagnoses are made and perceived and how treatment of patients is approached by Canadian health care professionals working in pediatric chronic pain clinics. Method: Health care professionals (N = 50) completed the survey, which contained both qualitative and quantitative items. Results: Of participants, 88% reported moderate/advanced training in pain, whereas only 26% reported moderate/advanced training in somatic symptom disorder and conversion disorder. Somatic symptom disorder and conversion disorder were reportedly diagnosed in approximately 17% and 5% of young people with chronic pain, respectively; however, overall, the participants were not confident or only slightly confident when diagnosing these disorders. There were no major differences in the reported interventions used to treat pain, somatic symptom disorder, or conversion disorder. Conclusions: These results highlight the need for standardized training in pain and psychiatric assessment, diagnosis, and treatment; diagnostic guidelines; and how to best provide this training to health care staff who work with young people with chronic pain.