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Parent chronic pain and mental health symptoms impact responses to children’s pain

Journal title
Canadian journal of pain = Revue canadienne de la douleur
Publication year
Fussner, L. M.; Schild, C.; Holley, A. L.; Wilson, A. C.

Background: Chronic pain is a prevalent health condition associated with parenting difficulties. Pain-specific parenting, such as protectiveness and catastrophizing, may contribute to chronic pain in children. Additional work is needed to test predictors of pain-specific parenting. Aim: The current study tested parent mental health symptoms as predictors of protectiveness and catastrophizing about child pain and whether comorbid pain and mental health symptoms exacerbate risk for problematic responses to children’s pain. Methods: Parents with chronic pain (n = 62) and parents without chronic pain (n = 80) completed self-report questionnaires assessing pain characteristics, mental health symptoms, and pain-specific parenting responses. Results: Results indicated significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatization in parents with chronic pain. Depression predicted protectiveness and catastrophizing over and above chronic pain status. Chronic pain status moderated the association between increased anxiety and greater catastrophizing about child pain. Conclusions: Findings highlight the potential impact of mental health symptoms on pain-specific parenting even when accounting for chronic pain status.

Research abstracts