Kids’ Tummy Aches Predict Adult Anxiety/Depression.

Children who have frequent stomach aches are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as adults, according to a new study.   Researchers evaluated about 330 children with functional abdominal pain syndrome (FAPS) — abdominal pain with no specific cause — and compared them with 150 children without stomachaches.

Later psychiatric evaluations (conducted an average of nine years later) revealed that the risk of developing an anxiety disorder was about four to five times higher in individuals who suffered from abdominal pain as a child.

The findings also suggest that children with abdominal pain have a greater risk of adult depression. In the study, 40 percent of adults who had abdominal pain as children had depression during their lifetime, compared with 16 percent of adults in the control group.

Approximately 50 percent of those who had FAPS as kids had social anxiety, phobias or other anxiety disorders while growing up or in adulthood, compared with about 20 percent of people without FAPS.

The findings suggest that anxiety should be taken into account when treating children who get frequent stomach aches, the researchers said.  MORE.


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About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit

  • Lynn

    We needed research to tell us that anxious kids get bellyaches and carry those patterns into adulthood?

  • Michelle

    In my case, it turned out that gluten intolerance was causing anxiety AND stomach aches. The presumption that anxiety was causing stomach aches wouldn’t have helped me.