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Testing the Feasibility of DARWeb

An Online Intervention for Children With Functional Abdominal Pain and Their Parents

Nieto, Rubén PhD*; Hernández, Eulàlia PhD*; Boixadós, Mercè PhD*; Huguet, Anna PhD†,‡; Beneitez, Imma MclPsych*; McGrath, Patrick PhD‡,§

The Clinical Journal of Pain: June 2015 - Volume 31 - Issue 6 - p 493–503
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000199
Special Topics Series

Objectives: To test the feasibility of an online intervention (DARWeb) for children with functional abdominal pain and their families.

Methods: An online intervention (with 7 units for children and 7 for parents) was developed from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. A total of 15 families were given access to the intervention and asked to rate their satisfaction with each unit and the overall program (using scales from 0 to 10). Moreover, they were interviewed at the end of the program to obtain more information about their impressions of the program.

Results: Nine families (60%) completed the entire program. Parents rated each unit above a median of 8; children also rated all of the units except the first 2 above a median of 8. Global ratings were also very positive. Qualitative data reinforce the idea that the participants were quite satisfied with the intervention, they appreciated the fact that it was online, and they learned coping strategies (they were especially happy with relaxation) and to give less importance to pain. Although they appreciated the available resources, they would like to have more multimedia and interactive resources, and some form of professional contact. Parents also suggest that it was a burden (in terms of time) to supervise their children’s progress in the program.

Discussion: DARWeb has been shown to be a feasible intervention, and it seems to be well designed. However, some improvements need to be considered based on the experiences of these participating families, and further research should be conducted to test its efficacy.

*PSiNET Research Group, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Departments of Community Health and Epidemiology

§Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Community Health & Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax

IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

The authors acknowledge that some sections of DARWeb are based on myWHI (an Internet-based CBT intervention for youth with headaches, led by Drs McGrath and Huguet) and the Strongest Family Program (distance family interventions for youth, led by Drs McGrath and Lingley-Pottie).

DARWeb project has been funded by a grant from the Fundació La Caixa (Recercaixa, 2012-2013), Barcelona, Spain and the “Ministerio de Economía y Competitivad” (Spanish Government, reference: PSI2013-42413-R; 2014-2016), Madrid, Spain. PSiNET is a research group that is recognized and supported by the Catalan Government (2014SGR858), Barcelona, Spain. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Rubén Nieto, PhD, Estudis de Psicologia i Ciències de l’Educació, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Rambla Poblenou, 156, 08018 Barcelona, Spain (e-mail:

Received June 9, 2014

Received in revised form January 12, 2015

Accepted December 8, 2014

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