OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether children with functional abdominal pain (FAP) show an attentional bias for their bodily activity, and whether receiving information about bodily activity influenced perception of bodily sensations. METHODS: A total of 30 children with FAP and 30 healthy children performed a dot-probe task, in which they were shown sham pictures about their bodily activity. RESULTS: Contrary to our hypotheses, no attentional bias for gut activity was found in either group. However, children with FAP were slower than healthy children on all supraliminal gut-activity trials, suggesting that pictures of gut activity distracted children with FAP from the task they were performing. Both groups showed an attention bias away from supraliminal pictures about heart activity. As hypothesized, more children with FAP than healthy children reported increases in pain after the experiment. CONCLUSIONS: Children with FAP seemed more strongly influenced by information about gut activity than healthy children. The present study should be replicated for intervention purposes.
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