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Lynn Walker

Professor of Pediatrics
Director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Behavioral Science in the Monroe Carell Jr. Children

 

Lynn Walker's research aims to understand biopsychosocial processes associated with children's illness behavior (i.e., their somatic symptoms, functional disability, and health service utilization). Her research is particularly concerned with children who develop extensive illness behavior that appears to be out of proportion to medical findings. These children may become caught in a self-perpetuating cycle that includes physiological reactivity to stress, perceived lack of control (both in relation to external stressors and to their own physical symptoms), and passive coping. Protective behavior by family members may unintentionally foster these children's perceived lack of control, passive coping, and withdrawal from normal childhood activities. Children with recurrent abdominal pain and their families have served as a prototype in this research. Dr. Walker holds appointments both in the Department of Pediatrics and in Psychology and Human development.

Current Research

  • 2007-2012 Developmental outcomes of pediatric chronic pain. (R01 HD23264) Funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Behavior.
  • 2001-2006 Illness Behavior and Somatization in Children and Adolescents. (R01 HD23264) Funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

  • Walker, L. S. (in press). Psychological factors in the development and natural history of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
  • Puzanovova, M., Rudzinski, E., Shirkey, K. C., Cherry, R., Acra, S., & Walker, L. S. (2008). Sex, Psychological Factors, and Reported Symptoms Influence Referral for Esophagogastroduodenoscopy and Biodpsy Results in Children With Chronic Abdominal Pain. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 47, 54-60.
  • Anderson, J., Acra, S., Bruehl, s., & Walker, L. S. (in press). The relation between clinical symptoms and experimental visceral hypersensitivity in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
  • Walker, L. S., Baber, K. F., Garber, J., & Smith, C. A. (2008). A typology of pain coping strategies in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain. Pain, 137, 266-275.
  • Little, C., Williams, S. E., & Walker, L. S. (2007). Multiple somatic symptoms linked to positive screen for depression in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 44, 58-62.
  • Walker, L.S., Smith, C.A., Garber, J., & Claar, R.L. (2007). Appraisal and coping with daily stressors by pediatric pain patients and well children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 206-216.
  • Walker, L. S., Williams, S. E., Smith, C. A., Garber, J., Van Slyke, D. A., & Lipani, T. A. (2006). Parent attention versus distraction: Impact on symptom complaints by children with and without chronic functional abdominal pain. Pain, 122, 43-52.
  • Mulvaney, S., Lambert, E. W., Garber, J., & Walker, L. S. (2006). Trajectories of symptoms and impairment for pediatric patients with functional abdominal pain: A 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 737-744.
  • Walker, L. S., Williams, S. E., Smith, C. A., Garber, J., & Naliboff, B. D. (2006). Validation of a symptom provocation test for laboratory studies of pediatric abdominal pain. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31, 703-713.
  • Walker, L. S., Smith, C. A., Garber, J., & Claar, R. L. (2005). Testing a model of pain appraisal and coping in children with chronic abdominal pain. Health Psychology, 24, 364 - 374.
  • Walker, L. S., Claar, R. L., & Garber, J. (2002). Social consequences of children's pain: When do they encourage symptom maintenance? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 689-698.
  • Claar, R. L, Walker, L. S., Smith, C. A., & Garber, J. (2002). The influence of appraisals in understanding children's experiences with medical procedures. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 553-563.
  • Claar, R. L., Walker, L. S., & Barnard, J. A. (2002). Children's knowledge, anticipatory anxiety, procedural distress, and recall of esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 34, 68-72.
  • Walker, L.S., Smith, C.A., Garber, J., Van Slyke, D.A., & Claar, R. (2001). The relation of daily stressors to somatic and emotional symptoms in children with recurrent abdominal pain. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 85-91.
  • Claar, R. L, & Walker, L. S. (1999). Maternal attributions for the causes and remedies of their children's abdominal pain. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 24, 345-354.
  • Walker, L. S., Garber, J., & Van Slyke, D. A. (1995). Do parents excuse the misbehavior of children with physical or emotional symptoms? An investigation of the pediatric sick role. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 20, 329-345.
  • Walker, L. S., Garber, J., & Greene, J. W. (1994). Somatic complaints in pediatric patients: A prospective study of the role of negative life events, child social and academic competence, and parental somatic complaints. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62,1213-1221.
  • Walker, L. S., Ortiz-Valdes, J. A., & Newbrough, J. R. (1989). The role of maternal employment and depression in the psychological adjustment of chronically ill, mentally retarded, and well children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 14, 357-370. (Reprinted in Roberts, M. C., & Wallander, J. L. (Eds.) (1992), Family issues in pediatric psychology (pp. 67-79). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.)