Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

[Pain-related parental behavior : Maternal and paternal responses to chronic pain of their child and modifications following inpatient interdisciplinary pain treatment]

Journal title
Schmerz (Berlin, Germany)
Publication year
Frerker, M.; Hechler, T.; Schmidt, P.; Zernikow, B.

BACKGROUND: There is a dearth of research studies regarding the pain-related behavior of parents with children suffering from chronic pain. This study examined the pain-related reactions of mothers and fathers, analyzed changes in these reactions following the child’s inpatient interdisciplinary pain treatment and identified predictors for these changes. METHOD: Using validated questionnaires 40 mothers and 40 fathers of children suffering from chronic pain reported their pain-related responses and cognitive distortions at treatment commencement, immediately following therapy as well as at follow-up after 6 and 12 months. RESULTS: At treatment commencement there were neither differences between maternal and paternal behavior nor in their reactions towards the sons and daughters. Immediately after treatment both parents showed increased distracting behavior and decreased solicitous behavior. Only the change in solicitous behavior showed long-term stability. The study identified the extent of parental catastrophizing at treatment commencement as well as changes in this reaction during treatment as predictors for reduction in solicitous behavior. The more parents reported catastrophizing thoughts at treatment commencement, the less they changed their solicitous behavior and strong changes in catastrophizing during treatment correlated with strong changes in solicitous reactions. CONCLUSION: Pain-related solicitous behavior can be modified by the interdisciplinary inpatient treatment of chronic pain in children and changes in solicitous behavior seem to be closely related to parental catastrophizing. This association should be considered when dealing with parents of children with chronic pain and also within the framework of future research projects.

Research abstracts