This article identifies some of the challenges of implementing patient-centeredness in multiparty clinical visits. Specifically, it describes four interview practices with which clinicians address these challenges in a US outpatient tertiary care pediatric pain clinic. Using the qualitative method of conversation analysis, we analyze clinicians’ child-directed (ages 10–18) interviewing during the initial stage of 51 intake visits. In particular, we analyze the challenges involved in open-ended questioning, a form of interviewing associated with patient-centeredness. Open-ended questioning presents participants with competing demands: although it gives children an opportunity to talk about their illness in their own terms, it also asks them to be responsible for a larger part of the communication work. Moreover, the presence of a parent as an alternative informant can lead to the loss of the child as an informant if clinicians fail to give the child, particularly younger ones, enough guidance in answering. We argue that a flexible range of interviewing practices may be a step towards offsetting children’s and parents’ past negative experiences with clinicians, improving patient outcomes and implementing child/patient-centeredness.
chronic condition; clinician-child-parent triadic communication; medical interview questions; medically unexplained symptoms; patient participation; patient presenting concerns
Adult survivors of childhood cancer are at-risk for suicide ideation, though longitudinal patterns and rates of recurrent suicide ideation are unknown. We investigated the prevalence of late report (i.e. post-initial assessment) and recurrent suicide ideation in adult survivors of childhood cancer, identified predictors of suicide ideation, and examined associations among suicide ideation and mortality.
Participants included 9,128 adult survivors of childhood cancer and 3,082 sibling controls enrolled in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study who completed a survey question assessing suicide ideation on one or more occasions between 1994 and 2010. Suicide ideation was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory-18. Mortality data was ascertained from the National Death Index.
Survivors were more likely to report late (Odds Ratio (OR) =1.9; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) =1.5–2.5) and recurrent suicide ideation (OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.8–3.8) compared to siblings. Poor physical health status was associated with increased risk of suicide ideation in survivors (late report: OR=1.9, 95% CI=1.3–2.7; recurrent: OR=1.9, 95% CI=1.2–2.9). Suicide ideation was associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality (Hazard Ratio (HR) =1.3, 95% CI=1.03–1.6) and death by external causes (HR=2.4, 95% CI=1.4–4.1).
Adult survivors of childhood cancer are at-risk for late report and recurrent suicide ideation, which is associated with increased risk of mortality. Routine screening for psychological distress in adult survivors appears warranted, especially for survivors who develop chronic physical health conditions.
childhood cancer; survivorship; suicide; mortality; late effects
There is limited information regarding the relationship between parent and child responses to laboratory pain induction in the absence of experimental manipulation.
To assess the association between responses to cold and pressure pain tasks in 133 nonclinical mothers and children (mean age 13.0 years; 70 girls), and the moderating effects of child sex and pubertal status on these mother-child relationships.
Mothers and children independently completed the cold and pressure pain tasks. Multiple linear regression analyses examined the association between mothers’ and children’s laboratory pain responses. The moderating effects of child sex and pubertal status were tested in the linear models by examining the interaction among mother laboratory pain responses, and child sex and pubertal status.
Mothers’ cold pain anticipatory anxiety and pressure pain intensity were associated with children’s pressure pain anticipatory anxiety. Mothers’ pressure pain tolerance was associated with children’s pain tolerance for both the cold and pressure pain tasks. Mothers’ cold pain tolerance was associated with children’s pressure pain tolerance. Pubertal status moderated two of the three significant mother-child pain tolerance relationships, such that the associations held for early pubertal but not for late pubertal children. Sex did not moderate mother-child pain associations.
The results indicate that mother-child pain relationships are centred primarily on pain avoidance behaviour, particularly among prepubertal children. These findings may inform interventions focused on pain behaviours, with a particular emphasis on mothers of prepubertal children, to reduce acute pain responses in their children.
Adolescents; Children; Cold pressor task; Experimental pain; Parents
Salivary alpha amylase (sAA) has been shown to be a sensitive and reliable marker of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) response to stress. A link between sAA, cortisol, and social/evaluative stress has been established in youth, but little is known about these relationships in response to other stressors in children, and how social anxiety might moderate these relationships. The current study explored the associations among sAA and salivary cortisol responses to laboratory pain tasks and self-reported social anxiety symptoms in a sample of healthy children.
Two hundred thirty-one children (114 girls; 49.4%) with a mean age 12.68 years (SD=3.0; range 7–18) participated in the study. Participants completed self-report questionnaires prior to undergoing a series of laboratory pain tasks involving cold, pressure, and heat pain. Saliva samples were collected upon arrival to the laboratory (pre-task), following the completion of the pain tasks (post-task1), and 20 minutes after the completion of the pain tasks (post-task2).
Demographic factors (age, sex, pubertal stage) did not predict either sAA or cortisol levels. However, children reporting higher levels of social anxiety demonstrated significantly higher sAA but not cortisol levels across three salivary collection times, compared to children reporting lower levels of social anxiety. Further, it does not appear that reduced state levels of anxiety before or during the tasks buffer this relationship.
These data highlight the possibility of identifying biomarkers of stress that are consistent across time and developmental stage. sAA appears to be a marker of stress response in children with self-reported social anxiety. There may also be a potentially unique relationship of sAA to stress in this population. In addition, sAA may reflect stable individual differences in levels of ANS arousal and may be a useful biomarker for identifying children at risk for stress.
Alpha amylase; Cortisol; Social anxiety; Anxiety; stress; Children; Youth; Pain
Migraines dramatically affect adolescents' quality of life. One area of particular importance is the impact of migraines on adolescents' social functioning.
To understand the impact of migraines on adolescents' social functioning from multiple informants.
Semi-structured interviews with adolescents who have migraines, their caregivers, and clinicians who treat adolescents who have migraines.
Three major themes related to social functioning were identified from the adolescent interviews: The need to be alone; lack of support from siblings, and the feeling of not being understood by others. The caregiver interviews yielded three main themes related to family functioning: plans can change quickly; family life revolves around helping the child with the migraine, and parents' feelings of inadequacy in helping their child. There were two main themes derived from the clinician interviews related to perception of family functioning: importance of parental involvement, and the role of adolescents' school and social lives in migraine prevention.
There are a number of unmet needs among adolescents with recurrent migraine and their families. Interviews with adolescents, caregivers, and clinicians suggest a number of areas for intervention.
Adolescents; children; parents; migraine; headache; social functioning
Pain in children can become chronic and disabling, associated with high degrees of social isolation from schooling absences, physical limitations that prevent participation in social settings, and difficulties forming self-identity. This lack of social support network impairs social coping skills and can lead to worsening pain symptoms.
In this case study, we describe a new program to disrupt the cycle of social isolation and chronic pain by emphasizing social coping skills via peer mentorship. The program aimed to utilize peers who have learned to self-manage their own chronic pain to assist patients with social coping skills to reduce isolation caused by chronic pain conditions.
Children and adolescents with chronic pain.
This case describes the experience of a 17 year-old, African American boy with diffuse chronic body pain as a participant (“the mentee”) in the program; his mentor was a 19 year-old girl with chronic pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The mentor received six hours of training and she mentored the patient in 10 weekly sessions.
The mentee connected very well with his mentor through sharing similar pain experiences. He demonstrated improvements in positive affect, sleep, social coping, and perception of bodily pain on a variety of quantitative measures. Qualitative data from interviews also suggested that the mentee learned important social coping skills through peer mentorship.
A peer mentoring approach to chronic pain may help alleviate social isolation in adolescents and result in improvements in a number of associated symptoms.
Children; chronic pain; peer mentorship; social coping
Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) refers to the diminution of perceived pain intensity for a test stimulus following application of a conditioning stimulus to a remote area of the body, and is thought to reflect the descending inhibition of nociceptive signals. Studying CPM in children may inform interventions to enhance central pain inhibition within a developmental framework. We assessed CPM in 133 healthy children (mean age = 13 years; 52.6% girls) and tested the effects of sex and age. Participants were exposed to four trials of a pressure test stimulus before, during, and after the application of a cold water conditioning stimulus. CPM was documented by a reduction in pressure pain ratings during cold water administration. Older children (12–17 years) exhibited greater CPM than younger (8–11 years) children. No sex differences in CPM were found. Lower heart rate variability (HRV) at baseline and after pain induction was associated with less CPM controlling for child age. The findings of greater CPM in the older age cohort suggest a developmental improvement in central pain inhibitory mechanisms. The results highlight the need to examine developmental and contributory factors in central pain inhibitory mechanisms in children to guide effective, age appropriate, pain interventions.
diffuse noxious inhibitory controls; experimental pain; descending modulation; endogenous inhibition; pediatric pain
To describe alcohol consumption patterns and risk factors for heavy alcohol use among siblings of childhood cancer survivors compared to survivors and national controls.
Secondary analysis of prospectively collected data from two national surveys was performed including a cohort of 3,034 adult siblings of childhood cancer survivors (age 18-56 years) and 10,398 adult childhood cancer survivors both from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, plus 5,712 adult participants from the population-based National Alcohol Survey. Cancer-related experiences, self-reported current health and mental health were examined in relation to alcohol consumption patterns including heavy and risky drinking.
Adult siblings of childhood cancer survivors were more likely to be heavy drinkers (ORadj=1.3; 1.0-1.6) and risky drinkers (ORadj=1.3; 1.1-1.6) compared to controls from a national sample. Siblings were also more likely to drink at these two levels compared to survivors. Factors associated with heavy drinking among siblings include being 18-21 years old (ORadj=2.9; 2.0-4.4), male (ORadj=2.3; 1.7-3.0), having a high school education or less (ORadj=2.4; 1.7-3.5), and drinking initiation at a young age (ORadj=5.1; 2.5-10.3). Symptoms of depression, (ORadj=2.1; 1.3-3.2), anxiety (ORadj=1.9; 1.1-3.3) and global psychiatric distress (ORadj=2.5; 1.5-4.3) were significantly associated with heavy alcohol use.
Siblings of children with cancer are more likely to be heavy drinkers as adults compared to childhood cancer survivors or national controls. Early initiation of drinking and symptoms of psychological distress should be identified during early adolescence and effective sibling-specific interventions should be developed and made available for siblings of children with cancer.
alcohol; childhood cancer; heavy drinking; risky drinking; siblings; cancer; alcohol/drug use; mental health; psychological impact
Adult survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for long-term morbidities, which may be managed pharmacologically. Psychoactive medication treatment has been associated with adverse effects on specific neurocognitive processes in non-cancer populations, yet these associations have not been examined in adult survivors of childhood cancer.
Outcomes were evaluated in 7,080 adult survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study using a validated self-report Neurocognitive Questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for neurocognitive impairment using demographic and treatment factors and survivors’ report of prescription medication use.
Controlling for cranial radiation, pain, psychological distress, and stroke/seizure, use of antidepressant medications was associated with impaired task efficiency (OR=1.80, 95% CI=1.47–2.21), organization (OR=1.83, 95% CI=1.48–2.25), memory (OR=1.53, 95% CI=1.27–1.84) and emotional regulation (OR=2.06, 95% CI=1.70–2.51). Neuroleptics and stimulants were associated with impaired task efficiency (OR=2.46, 95% CI=1.29–4.69; OR=2.82, 95% CI=1.61–4.93, respectively) and memory (OR=2.08, 95% CI=1.13–3.82; OR=2.69, 95% CI=1.59–4.54, respectively). Anticonvulsants were associated with impaired task efficiency, memory and emotional regulation, although survivors who use these medications may be at risk for neurocognitive impairment on the basis of seizure disorder and/or underlying tumor location (CNS).
These findings suggest that specific psychoactive medications and/or mental health conditions may be associated with neurocognitive function in adult survivors of childhood cancer. The extent to which these associations are causal or indicative of underlying neurological impairment for which the medications are prescribed remains to be ascertained.
psychoactive medication; neurocognition; survivorship
Childhood cancer survivors are at-risk for late effects which may be managed pharmacologically. The purpose of this study was to estimate and compare the prevalence of psychoactive medication use of adult survivors of childhood cancer and sibling controls, identify predictors of medication use in survivors, and investigate associations between psychoactive medications and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Psychoactive medication use from 1994 to 2010 was evaluated in 10,378 adult survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. A randomly selected subset of 3,206 siblings served as a comparison group. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) for baseline and new onset of self-reported psychoactive medication use and HRQOL.
Survivors were significantly more likely to report baseline (22% vs. 15%, p<0.001) and new onset (31% vs. 25%, p<0.001) psychoactive medication use compared to siblings, as well as use of multiple medications (p<0.001). In multivariable models, controlling for pain and psychological distress, female survivors were significantly more likely to report baseline and new onset use of antidepressants (OR=2.66; 95% CI=2.01–3.52; OR=2.02; 95% CI=1.72–2.38, respectively) and multiple medications (OR=1.80; 95% CI=1.48–2.19; OR=1.77; 95% CI=1.48–2.13, respectively). Non-cranial radiation and amputation predicted incident use of analgesics >15 years following diagnosis. Antidepressants were associated with impairment across all domains of HRQOL, with the exception of physical function.
Prevalence of psychoactive medication use was higher among survivors for most medication classes, as was the use of multiple medications. Clinicians should be aware of the possible contribution of psychoactive medications to HRQOL.
psychoactive medication; quality of life; survivorship
Sickle-cell disease is a genetic disorder characterized by severe pain episodes or “vaso-occlusive crises” that may require hospitalization. This study examined the associations among emotion regulation, somatization, positive and negative affect, and hospitalizations for pain crises in youth with sickle-cell disease. Multivariate analyses indicated that emotional suppression and somatization were significantly associated with more frequent hospitalizations for pain crises in the previous year after controlling for sickle-cell disease type and pain. These results suggest that efforts to reduce emotional suppression and somatization may assist in decreasing the frequency of hospitalizations for pain crises among youth with sickle-cell disease.
adolescence; children; emotion regulation; health-care utilization; somatization
To compare the skin and breast/cervical cancer prevention/screening practices of adult siblings of childhood cancer survivors with controls and to identify modifying factors for these practices.
Cross-sectional, self-report data from 2,588 adult siblings of 5+ year survivors of childhood cancer were analyzed to assess cancer prevention/screening practices. Two age, sex and race/ethnicity-matched samples (n=5,915 and n=37,789) of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System participants served as the comparison populations. Sociodemographic and cancer-related data were explored as modifying factors for sibling cancer prevention/screening practices through multivariable logistic regression.
Compared to controls, siblings were more likely to practice skin cancer prevention behaviors: use of protective clothing (OR 2.85, 95% 2.39-3.39), use of shade (OR 2. 11, 95% 1.88-2.36), use of sunscreen (OR 1.27, 95% 1.14-1.40), and wearing a hat (OR 1.77, 95% 1.58-1.98). No differences were noted for breast/cervical cancer screening including mammography and Pap testing. Having less than a high school education and lack of health insurance were associated with diminished cancer prevention/screening behaviors. Survivor diagnosis, treatment intensity, adverse health, chronic health conditions, and second cancers were not associated with sibling cancer prevention/screening behaviors.
Siblings of cancer survivors report greater skin cancer prevention practices when compared with controls; however, no differences were noted for breast/cervical cancer screening practices. Access to care and lack of education may be associated with decreased cancer prevention/screening behaviors. Interventions are needed to address these barriers.
Research should be directed at understanding the impact of the cancer experience on sibling health behaviors.
Siblings; survivor; childhood cancer; prevention; screening
Investigations examining psychosocial adjustment among childhood cancer survivors have focused primarily on negative effects and psychopathology. Emergent literature suggests the existence of positive impact or adjustment experienced after cancer, as well. The purpose of this study is to examine the distribution of Perceived Positive Impact (PPI) and its correlates in young adult survivors of childhood cancer.
6,425 survivors and 360 siblings completed a comprehensive health survey, inclusive of a modified version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) as a measure of PPI. Linear regression models were used to examine demographic, disease and treatment characteristics associated with PPI.
Survivors were significantly more likely than siblings to report PPI. Endorsement of PPI was significantly greater among female and non-white survivors, and among survivors exposed to at least one intense therapy, a second malignancy or cancer recurrence. Survivors diagnosed at older ages and fewer years since diagnosis were more likely to report PPI. Income, education and marital/relationship status appeared to have varied relationships to PPI depending upon the subscale being evaluated.
The existence and variability of PPI in survivors in this study suggest that individual characteristics, inclusive of race, gender, cancer type, intensity of treatment, age at diagnosis and time since diagnosis, have unique and specific associations with different aspects of perceived positive outcomes of childhood cancer.
Psychosocial; childhood cancer; trauma; event centrality; survivors
Studies in adults have demonstrated a relationship between lowered heart rate variability (HRV) and poor health. However, less is known about the role of autonomic arousal in children’s well-being. The aim of the current study was to examine resting HRV in children with chronic pain compared to healthy control children and, further, to examine children’s HRV following a series of acute experimental pain tasks in both groups. Participants included 104 healthy control children and 48 children with chronic pain aged 8–17 years. The laboratory session involved a 5-minute baseline electrocardiogram followed by four pain induction tasks: evoked pressure, cold pressor, focal pressure, and a conditioned pain modulation task. After the tasks were complete, a 5-minute post-task electrocardiogram recording was taken. Spectral analysis was used to capture high-frequency normalized power and the ratio of low-to-high frequency band power, signifying cardiac vagal tone and sympathetic balance, respectively. Results revealed that children with chronic pain had significantly lower resting HRV (signified by low high-frequency normalized power and high ratio of low-to-high frequency band power) compared to healthy children; moreover, a significant interaction between groups and time revealed that children with chronic pain displayed a static HRV response to the pain session compared to healthy children, whose HRV was reduced concomitant with the pain session. These findings suggest that children with chronic pain may have a sustained stress response with minimal variability in response to new acute pain stressors.
laboratory pain; pediatric pain; cold pressor; experimental pain; childhood pain; stress task
Parental behaviors, emotions, and cognitions are known to influence children’s response to pain. However, prior work has not tested the association between maternal psychological factors and children’s responses to a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) task. CPM refers to the reduction in perceived pain intensity for a test stimulus following application of a conditioning stimulus to a remote area of the body, and is thought to reflect the descending inhibition of nociceptive signals.
The present study examined sex differences in the association between maternal anxiety about pain and children’s CPM responses in 133 healthy children aged 8–17 years. Maternal pain anxiety was assessed using the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20. In addition to the magnitude of CPM, children’s anticipatory anxiety and pain-related fear of the CPM task were measured.
Sequential multiple linear regression revealed that even after controlling for child age and general maternal psychological distress, greater maternal pain anxiety was significantly related to greater CPM anticipatory anxiety and pain-related fear in girls, and to less CPM (ie, less pain inhibition) in boys.
The findings indicate sex-specific relationships between maternal pain anxiety and children’s responses to a CPM task over and above that accounted for by the age of the child and the mother’s general psychological distress.
diffuse noxious inhibitory controls; pediatric pain; mother-child relationship; cold pressor; pressure pain; laboratory pain
Extant research comparing laboratory pain responses of children with chronic pain with healthy controls is mixed, with some studies indicating lower pain responsivity for controls and others showing no differences. Few studies have included different pain modalities or assessment protocols.
To compare pain responses among 26 children (18 girls) with chronic pain and matched controls (mean age 14.8 years), to laboratory tasks involving thermal heat, pressure and cold pain. Responses to cold pain were assessed using two different protocols: an initial trial of unspecified duration and a second trial of specified duration.
Four trials of pressure pain and of thermal heat pain stimuli, all of unspecified duration, were administered, as well as the two cold pain trials. Heart rate and blood pressure were assessed at baseline and after completion of the pain tasks.
Pain tolerance and pain intensity did not differ between children with chronic pain and controls for the unspecified trials. For the specified cold pressor trial, 92% of children with chronic pain completed the entire trial compared with only 61.5% of controls. Children with chronic pain exhibited a trend toward higher baseline and postsession heart rate and reported more anxiety and depression symptoms compared with control children.
Contextual factors related to the fixed trial may have exerted a greater influence on pain tolerance in children with chronic pain relative to controls. Children with chronic pain demonstrated a tendency toward increased arousal in anticipation of and following pain induction compared with controls.
Acute pain; Cold pressor task; Laboratory pain; Pain intensity; Pressure pain; Thermal heat pain
Adult studies have demonstrated that increased resting blood pressure (BP) levels correlate with decreased pain sensitivity. However, few studies have examined the relationship between BP and experimental pain sensitivity among children.
This study investigated the association between resting BP levels and experimental pain tolerance, intensity, and unpleasantness in healthy children. We also explored whether these BP–pain relationships were age and gender dependent.
Participants underwent separate 4-trial blocks of cutaneous pressure and thermal pain stimuli, and 1 trial of a cold pain stimulus in counterbalanced order.
A total of 235 healthy children (49.6% female; mean age 12.7 [2.9] years; age range 8–18 years) participated. The study revealed specific gender-based BP–pain relationships. Girls with higher resting systolic BP levels were found to have lower thermal intensity ratings than girls with lower resting systolic BP levels; this relationship was stronger among adolescent girls than among younger girls. Among young girls (8–11 years), those with higher resting diastolic BP (DBP) levels were found to have lower cold intensity and unpleasantness as well as lower thermal intensity ratings than did young girls with lower resting DBP levels; these DBP–pain response relationships were not seen among adolescent girls.
Age, rather than resting BP, was predictive of laboratory pain ratings in boys. The findings suggest that the relationship between BP and experimental pain is age and gender dependent. These aspects of cardiovascular relationships to pain in males and females need further attention to understand their clinical importance.
blood pressure; children; gender differences; laboratory pain
To identify risk factors for adverse psychological outcomes among adult siblings of long-term survivors of childhood cancer.
Cross-sectional, self-report data from 3,083 adult siblings (mean age 29 years, range 18-56 years) of 5+ year survivors of childhood cancer were analyzed to assess psychological outcomes as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Sociodemographic and health data, reported by both the siblings and their matched cancer survivors were explored as risk factors for adverse sibling psychological outcomes through multivariable logistic regression.
Self-reported symptoms of psychological distress, as measured by the global severity index of the BSI-18, were reported by 3.8% of the sibling sample. Less than 1.5% of siblings reported elevated scores on two or more of the subscales of the BSI-18. Risk factors for sibling depression included having a survivor brother (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.42-3.55), and having a survivor with impaired general health (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.18-3.78). Siblings who were younger than the survivor reported increased global psychological distress (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.05-3.12), as did siblings of survivors reporting global psychological distress (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.08-4.59). Siblings of sarcoma survivors reported more somatization than did siblings of leukemia survivors (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.05-3.98).
These findings suggest that siblings of long-term childhood cancer survivors are psychologically healthy in general. There are, however, small subgroups of siblings at risk for long-term psychological impairment who may benefit from preventive risk-reduction strategies during childhood while their sibling with cancer is undergoing treatment.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of joints and associated fatigue, deteriorated range of motion, and impaired psychosocial functioning. Young adults with RA are at a particular risk for compromised health-related quality of life, and there is a need for safe, effective complementary treatment in addition to traditional medical approaches. The aim of the present study was to use face-to-face participant interviews, conducted before and after an Iyengar yoga (IY) program, to examine mechanisms through which yoga may be beneficial to young adults with RA.
This pilot study utilized a single-arm design where all participants received the intervention. Classes were taught twice per week (1.5 hours each) for 6 weeks by an IY teacher qualified in therapeutics. Interview themes included participants’ baseline expectations about yoga and viewpoints as to how their functioning had been impacted by the IY intervention were examined. Five young adults with RA aged 24–31 years (mean = 28; 80% female) completed the yoga intervention. Participants consistently reported that yoga helped with energy, relaxation and mood and they discussed perceived mechanisms for how yoga impacted well-being. Mechanisms included physical changes such as range of motion and physiological awareness, and psychospiritual developments such as acceptance, coping, self-efficacy and mindfulness. Though the study is limited, participants’ responses provide compelling evidence that IY for RA patients is an intervention worthy of further exploration. The mechanisms and outcomes reported by participants support a biopsychosocial model, which proposes that yoga benefits patients through both physiological and psychospiritual changes.
Iyengar yoga; Rheumatoid arthritis; Qualitative data
Children, adolescents, and young adults do not typically feature in clinics, studies, and mainstream notions of chronic pain. Yet many young people experience debilitating pain for extended periods of time. Chronic pain in these formative years may be especially important to treat in order for young patients to maintain life tasks and to prevent protracted disability. The Pediatric Pain Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a multidisciplinary treatment program designed for young people with chronic pain and their families. We offer both conventional and complementary medicine to treat the whole individual. This article describes the work undertaken in the clinic and our newly developed Yoga for Youth Research Program. The clinical and research programs fill a critical need to provide service to youth with chronic pain and to scientifically study one of the more popular complementary treatments we offer, Iyengar yoga.
chronic pain; complementary medicine; pediatrics; yoga
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.
youth; depression; emotions; health psychology; mediator
Little is known about pain among long-term adult survivors of childhood cancers. The study investigated pain prevalence in this population compared with sibling controls and examined pain-related risk factors. Three self-reported pain outcomes including pain conditions, prescription analgesics used, and pain attributed to cancer and treatment were assessed among 10,397 cancer survivors and 3,034 sibling controls from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Pain conditions (pain/abnormal sensation, migraines, and other headaches) were reported by 12.3%, 15.5%, and 20.5% of survivors respectively; 16.7% of survivors reported use of prescription analgesics, and 21% attributed pain to cancer and treatment. Risks of reporting pain conditions and using prescription analgesics were higher among survivors than siblings adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Younger age at diagnosis and a history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Wilms tumor, or neuroblastoma (compared to leukemia) were associated with greater risk of reporting pain conditions. A history of bone cancer or soft tissue sarcoma (compared to leukemia) was associated with greater risks of using prescription analgesics and cancer-related pain attribution. Non-brain directed scatter irradiation was associated with elevated risk for migraines and cancer-related pain attribution. Female gender and lower educational attainment were associated with increased reports of all three pain outcomes; minority status, unemployment, and being single were associated with greater risks for reporting pain conditions. These findings contribute to the understanding of pain and associated risk factors among adult survivors of childhood cancer and suggest areas of focus for pain intervention.
Long-term adult survivors of childhood cancer; Self-reported pain; Pain attribution; Risk factors
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.
This study examined associations between sex, cortisol, and pain responses to laboratory pain tasks in children.
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.
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.
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.
pain; children; cortisol; sex differences