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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Treating functional abdominal pain disorders in children through a guided imagery therapy mobile application: Formative research

Author
item Hollier, John - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Vaughan, Adetola - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Liu, Yan - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Van Tilburg, Miranda - University Of North Carolina
item Shulman, Robert - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2018
Publication Date: 6/4/2018
Citation: Hollier, J.M., Vaughan, A.O., Liu, Y., Van Tilburg, M.A., Shulman, R.J., Thompson, D.J. 2018. Treating functional abdominal pain disorders in children through a guided imagery therapy mobile application: Formative research [abstract]. DDW 2018: Digestive Disease Week Annual Conference. June 2-5, 2018; Washington, DC. Poster Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Functional abdominal pain disorders (FAPDs) are highly prevalent in the pediatric population and associated with significant morbidity. Of the various treatment modalities, psychological therapies such as guided imagery are the most effective. However, access to therapists is a significant barrier to their use. Consequently, interest is increasing in providing these therapies remotely. Given the need for increased access to psychological treatments for FAPDs, our mixed methods study assessed whether affected pediatric patients and their mothers have interest in a mobile application (app) that would deliver guided imagery therapy sessions remotely to treat the child's abdominal pain. Children ages 7- to 12-years-old with a pediatric Rome III defined FAPD and their mothers were recruited from primary care ambulatory clinics. Mothers completed our modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) Questionnaire (Davis et al., 1989), which was adapted to characterize the driving factors and behavioral intention for using the proposed app. Mother and child participants also completed separate in-person interviews to assess interest in the proposed app to treat abdominal pain. Interview results were finalized after thematic saturation and agreement by two independent reviewers. Fifteen mother/child dyads participated. Thirty-three percent of child participants were Hispanic and 73% were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Participants lived in zip codes with median annual incomes ranging from $17,602 to $95,137. The TAM Questionnaire indicated that mothers had a positive attitude toward using the proposed app (response score 12.7 +/- 1.5, possible score range from 3 to 15). Behavioral Intention to use such an app was also high (response score 12.0 +/- 2.6, possible score range from 3 to 15). Qualitative results confirmed the mothers' interest in a guided imagery mobile app. Mothers advocated for an image or interactive visual component on the mobile device to keep their child's attention while the guided imagery session audio is played; liked the idea of incorporating background sounds into the therapy sessions; thought reminder notifications built within such an app would be helpful; and most thought the best time for their child to listen to the sessions would be in the evening or before bed. Qualitative findings also indicated that the children were interested in a mobile app to treat their FAPD. They identified multiple topics (e.g., sports-related activities) that would be of interest for the guided imagery therapy sessions. The concept of a mobile app that remotely delivers guided imagery therapy sessions to treat pediatric patients with FAPDs appears to be an acceptable treatment option for both parents and children. These results may serve as a guideline for initial design of such an app.