Psychosomatic disorders in children: An emerging challenge to health care in Japan

Takao Takahashi, Hisako Watanabe, Nobutake Matsuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Japan has been witnessing a considerable rise in the number of children presenting with psychosomatic disorders. Thus, there is a mounting demand for pediatricians to be trained in the caring of children with psychosomatic disorders. Method: A questionnaire based-survey was conducted to investigate the average number of working hours for the first year (Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1)) pediatric residents at Keio University Hospital. The same survey was conducted retrospectively with doctors with at least 10 years of experience in child health care. Another survey was conducted at our 27 affiliated hospitals with respect to the number of outpatients and patients presenting with psychosomatic disorders. Results: The survey showed that, in the ward for preschool and school-age children, PGY1 residents spent on average 78.9 h per week. Time required for care of psychosomatic disorders was more than 30% of the total amount of time allotted for information acquisition, interviews and consultations, as well as conferences and discussions. There was virtually no time spent on the care for psychosomatic disorders in our pediatric residency program 10 years ago. It is an implication of the survey that the apparent number of patients with psychosomatic problems is not dependent on the size or location of the hospital. Conclusion: General pediatricians will be spending more time than ever before in the caring of children with psychosomatic disorders. Moreover, pediatricians trained for child health care for psychosomatic disorders are short of supply or non-existent, even in the major affiliated hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalPediatrics International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Mar 25


  • Child health care
  • Child psychiatry
  • Medical education
  • Training program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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