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1.  Depression partially mediates the relationship between alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children 
Journal of health psychology  2011;16(8):1177-1186.
A link between alexithymia and somatization has been widely established, yet little is known about different factors that may influence this relationship. Evidence supporting the idea of psychopathology as a mediator has been presented but not widely tested, particularly in children. The present study examined depressive symptoms as a mediator of alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children in order to better understand the alexithymia-somatization link from a developmental perspective. Results indicated that depression significantly partially mediated this relationship, at least for two facets of alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing feelings). Possible mechanisms, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.
doi:10.1177/1359105311402407
PMCID: PMC3132307  PMID: 21464112
youth; depression; emotions; health psychology; mediator
2.  Sex Differences in the Association Between Cortisol Concentrations and Laboratory Pain Responses in Healthy Children 
Gender medicine  2009;6(Suppl 2):193-207.
Background
Research in adult populations has highlighted sex differences in cortisol concentrations and laboratory pain responses, with men exhibiting higher cortisol concentrations and reduced pain responses compared with women. Yet, less is known about the relationship of cortisol concentrations to pain in children.
Objective
This study examined associations between sex, cortisol, and pain responses to laboratory pain tasks in children.
Methods
Salivary cortisol samples from subjects aged 8 to 18 years were obtained at baseline after entering the laboratory (SCb), after the completion of all pain tasks (SC1), and at the end of the session (SC2), 20 minutes later. Blood cortisol samples were also taken after completion of the pain tasks (BC1) and at the end of the session (BC2), 20 minutes later. Subjects completed 3 counterbalanced laboratory pain tasks: pressure, heat, and cold pressor tasks. Pain measures included pain tolerance, and self-reported pain intensity and unpleasantness for all 3 tasks.
Results
The study included 235 healthy children and adolescents (119 boys, 116 girls; mean age, 12.7 years; range, 8–18 years; 109 [46.4%] were in early puberty; 94 [40.0%] white). Salivary and blood cortisol levels were highly correlated with each other. Salivary cortisol levels for the total sample and for boys and girls declined significantly from SCb to SC1 (P < 0.01), although there were no significant changes from SC1 to SC2. No significant sex differences in salivary or blood cortisol levels were evident at any assessment point. Separate examination of the cortisol–laboratory pain response relationships by sex (controlling for age and time of day) suggested different sex-specific patterns. Higher cortisol levels were associated with lower pain reactivity (ie, increased pressure tolerance) among boys compared with girls at SC1, SC2, and BC1 (SC1: r = 0.338, P = 0.003; SC2: r = 0.271, P = 0.020; and BC1: r = 0.261, P = 0.026). However, higher cortisol levels were related to higher pain response (ie, increased cold intensity [BC2: r = 0.229, P = 0.048] and unpleasantness [BC1: r = 0.237, P = 0.041]) in girls compared with boys.
Conclusions
These findings suggest important sex differences in cortisol–pain relationships in children and adolescents. Cortisol levels were positively associated with increased pain tolerance in boys and increased pain sensitivity in girls.
doi:10.1016/j.genm.2009.03.001
PMCID: PMC3486740  PMID: 19406369
pain; children; cortisol; sex differences
3.  Distress and avoidance in Generalized Anxiety Disorder:Exploring the relationships with intolerance of uncertainty and worry 
Cognitive behaviour therapy  2010;39(2):126-136.
Theory and research suggest treatments targeting experiential avoidance may enhance outcomes for patients with GAD (Roemer & Orsillo, 2002; 2007). Preliminary findings demonstrate that distress about emotions and avoidance of internal experiences share unique variance with GAD above and beyond chronic reports of worry (Roemer, Salters, Raffa, & Orsillo, 2005). The purpose of the present study was to extend previous findings to explore the role of experiential avoidance and distress about emotions in a treatment-seeking sample with a principal diagnosis of GAD compared with demographically matched non-anxious controls, and to explore their shared relationship with two putative psychopathological processes in GAD: intolerance of uncertainty and worry. Patients with GAD reported significantly higher levels of experiential avoidance and distress about emotions compared to non-clinical controls while controlling for depressive symptoms, and measures of these constructs significantly predicted GAD status. Additionally, experiential avoidance and distress about anxious, positive, and angry emotions shared unique variance with intolerance of uncertainty when negative affect was partialled out, while only experiential avoidance and distress about anxious emotions shared unique variance with worry. Discussion focuses on implications for treatment as well as future directions for research.
doi:10.1080/16506070902966918
PMCID: PMC2866754  PMID: 19714542
Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Worry; Experiential Avoidance; Acceptance-based Behavior Therapy; Intolerance of Uncertainty
4.  Peer mentorship to promote effective pain management in adolescents: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:132.
Background
This protocol is for a study of a new program to improve outcomes in children suffering from chronic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia, recurrent headache, or recurrent abdominal pain. Although teaching active pain self-management skills through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or a complementary program such as hypnotherapy or yoga has been shown to improve pain and functioning, children with low expectations of skill-building programs may lack motivation to comply with therapists' recommendations. This study will develop and test a new manualized peer-mentorship program which will provide modeling and reinforcement by peers to other adolescents with chronic pain (the mentored participants). The mentorship program will encourage mentored participants to engage in therapies that promote the learning of pain self-management skills and to support the mentored participants' practice of these skills. The study will examine the feasibility of this intervention for both mentors and mentored participants, and will assess the preliminary effectiveness of this program on mentored participants' pain and functional disability.
Methods
This protocol will recruit adolescents ages 12-17 with chronic pain and randomly assign them to either peer mentorship or a treatment-as-usual control group. Mentored participants will be matched with peer mentors of similar age (ages 14-18) who have actively participated in various treatment modalities through the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program and have learned to function successfully with a chronic pain disorder. The mentors will present information to mentored participants in a supervised and monitored telephone interaction for 2 months to encourage participation in skill-building programs. The control group will receive usual care but without the mentorship intervention. Mentored and control subjects' pain and functioning will be assessed at 2 months (end of intervention for mentored participants) and at 4 month follow-up to see if improvements persist. Measures of treatment adherence, pain, disability, and anxiety and depression will be assessed throughout study participation. Qualitative interviews for mentors, mentored participants, and control subjects will also be administered.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01118988.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-132
PMCID: PMC3113991  PMID: 21600053
5.  Anxiety sensitivity and catastrophizing: Associations with pain and somatization in non-clinical children 
Journal of health psychology  2009;14(8):1085-1094.
This study examined the relationships among anxiety sensitivity (AS), catastrophizing, somatization, and pain in 240 non-clinical children (121 girls; mean age = 12.7 years). Children with pain problems (n = 81; 33.8%) reported greater AS and catastrophizing (p’s < .01) relative to children without pain problems. AS but not catastrophizing was significantly associated with current pain. However, both AS and catastrophizing were significantly associated with somatization. AS and catastrophizing represent related but partially distinct cognitive constructs that may be targeted by interventions aimed at alleviating pain and somatization in children.
doi:10.1177/1359105309342306
PMCID: PMC2770141  PMID: 19858329
Children; pain; somatization; catastrophizing; anxiety sensitivity
6.  Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Panic Disorder: Relationship of Anxiety and Depression Comorbidity with Treatment Outcome 
Research evaluating the relationship of comorbidity to treatment outcome for panic disorder has produced mixed results. The current study examined the relationship of comorbid depression and anxiety to treatment outcome in a large-scale, multi-site clinical trial for cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for panic disorder. Comorbidity was associated with more severe panic disorder symptoms, although comorbid diagnoses were not associated with treatment response. Comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) were not associated with differential improvement on a measure of panic disorder severity, although only rates of comorbid GAD were significantly lower at posttreatment. Treatment responders showed greater reductions on measures of anxiety and depressive symptoms. These data suggest that comorbid anxiety and depression are not an impediment to treatment response, and successful treatment of panic disorder is associated with reductions of comorbid anxiety and depressive symptoms. Implications for treatment specificity and conceptual understandings of comorbidity are discussed.
doi:10.1007/s10862-009-9151-3
PMCID: PMC2855025  PMID: 20421906
Panic disorder; Comorbidity; Treatment outcome; Anxiety; Depression

Results 1-6 (6)