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The Longitudinal Impact of Parent Distress and Behavior on Functional Outcomes Among Youth With Chronic Pain

Journal title
The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society
Publication year
Chow, E. T.; Otis, J. D.; Simons, L. E.

Accumulating evidence supports the concurrent association between parent distress and behavior and child functioning in the context of chronic pain, with existing longitudinal studies limited to a pediatric surgical context that identify parent catastrophizing as influential. In this study, we examined how parent factors assessed at a multidisciplinary pediatric pain clinic evaluation affect child psychological and functional outcomes over time. A cohort of 195 patients with chronic pain (ages 8-17 years) and their parents who presented for a multidisciplinary evaluation completed measures at baseline and at 4-month follow-up. Patients completed measures of pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear and avoidance, generalized anxiety, depressive symptoms, and functional disability. Parents completed measures of pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear and avoidance, and protective responses to child pain. Parent-reported child school functioning was also collected. Parent distress and behavior was concurrently associated with child distress and functioning at evaluation. After controlling for baseline child functioning, baseline parent avoidance and protective behavior emerged as significant predictors of child functioning at 4-month follow-up. Parent distress and behavior influence child distress and functioning over time and these findings identify key parent domains to target in the context of a child’s pain treatment. PERSPECTIVE: Parent behavior, specifically avoidance and protective responses, influence child distress and functioning over time. Child pain treatment interventions should include influential parent factors to ensure successful outcomes.

Research abstracts