Predictors of coping success in children with functional abdominal pain: the influence of executive function and attention regulation
Theoretical models of adjustment to chronic illness underscore the influence of executive function and attention regulation in children's coping attempts, yet few studies have investigated the relations between these neurocognitive variables, coping and adjustment. This study examined the role of executive function and attention regulation in coping and its effect on pain and functional disability in 44 children and adolescents with functional abdominal pain. Participants and their caregivers completed measures of executive function, attention regulation, coping, and several outcome variables including pain, functional disability, and anxiety. Results revealed significant relations between selective attention abilities and two different approaches to coping with the stressor of abdominal pain episodes. Executive function and attention regulation did not directly or indirectly affect levels of pain or functional disability. Support was found for the indirect effects of selective attention on anxiety through cognitive coping strategies. This study highlights the role of neurocognitive variables in coping and provides a framework for future research.