Pediatric Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders: Primary Care Provider Perspectives

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Somatization, or physical symptoms that are inconsistent with a physiological cause that may or may not involve an identified stressor, is common in outpatient pediatrics. When these symptoms persist, they can impair function and progress to a somatic symptom and related disorder (SSRD), resulting in increased health care use and increased demands on primary care providers (PCPs). We performed a needs assessment among PCPs to better understand how best to support providers caring for children with SSRDs. Pediatric PCPs (n = 77) were surveyed to better understand their training, experience, perceptions, and practices of SSRD care. Findings indicate that PCPs have limited training in SSRD care but express interest in learning more. Many barriers to effective care were reported. We hope to use these findings to develop training materials and support services for pediatric PCPs managing SSRDs.

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