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1.  Relationship Between Resting Blood Pressure and Laboratory-Induced Pain Among Healthy Children 
Gender Medicine  2011;8(6):388-398.
Background
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.
Objectives
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.
Methods
Participants underwent separate 4-trial blocks of cutaneous pressure and thermal pain stimuli, and 1 trial of a cold pain stimulus in counterbalanced order.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.genm.2011.07.002
PMCID: PMC3319441  PMID: 22035675
blood pressure; children; gender differences; laboratory pain
2.  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
3.  Pain in Long-Term Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancers and Their Siblings: A Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Pain  2011;152(11):2616-2624.
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.
doi:10.1016/j.pain.2011.08.006
PMCID: PMC3304496  PMID: 21907493
Long-term adult survivors of childhood cancer; Self-reported pain; Pain attribution; Risk factors
4.  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
5.  Parent-Child Pain Relationships from a Psychosocial Perspective: A Review of the Literature 
Journal of pain management  2008;1(3):237-246.
Chronic or recurrent pain is a widespread health issue that affects a large proportion of the population, including adults and children. Family factors in the development of pain have received increasing attention of late as research has shown that pain tends to run in families, A burgeoning literature has also demonstrated the influence of parental factors in children’s responses to chronic and laboratory pain. This review attempts to integrate: first,) the literature documenting an association between parent and child pain both within the clinical chronic pain and laboratory pain literatures; and second,) research accounting for likely mechanisms explaining the parent-child pain association. To this end, we present a conceptual model that incorporates a number of parent and child specific characteristics, such as parental responses, coping and gender role socialization as well as broader socio-demographic factors such as parent and child age and sex, family functioning, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. It is anticipated that consideration of such variables will lead to needed research exploring the mechanisms of parent-child pain relationships, and to interventions designed to prevent and ameliorate child pain sensitivity when it correlates with poor adaptation to pain.
PMCID: PMC2658611  PMID: 19956360
children; pain; family; parents
6.  Relationships among Anxious Symptomatology, Anxiety Sensitivity and Laboratory Pain Responsivity in Children 
Cognitive behaviour therapy  2006;35(4):207-215.
Existing laboratory-based research in adult samples has suggested that anxiety sensitivity (AS) increases an individual’s propensity to experience pain-related anxiety which in turn enhances pain responsivity. Such relationships have not been examined in younger populations. Thus, the present study used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test a conceptual model in which AS would evidence an indirect relationship with pain intensity via its contribution to state-specific anticipatory anxiety in relation to a variety of laboratory pain tasks (cold pressor, thermal heat, and pressure pain) in 234 healthy children (116 girls; mean age = 12.6 years, range = 8–18 years). The model further hypothesized that existing anxious symptomatology would demonstrate a direct relationship with pain intensity. Results of the SEM supported the proposed conceptual model with the total indirect effect of AS accounting for 29% of the variance in laboratory pain intensity via its effects on pain-related anticipatory anxiety. AS did not however, evidence a direct relationship with pain intensity. Anxious symptomatology on the other hand, demonstrated a significant direct effect on pain intensity, accounting for 15% of variance. The combined effects of AS, anxiety symptoms, and anticipatory anxiety together explained 62% of the variance in pain intensity. These relationships did not differ for boys and girls indicating no moderating effect of sex in the proposed model. The present results support the potential benefit of assessing both AS and anxiety symptoms in children prior to undergoing painful stimulation.
doi:10.1080/16506070600898272
PMCID: PMC1783843  PMID: 17189238
children; adolescents; anxiety; anxiety sensitivity; laboratory pain; experimental pain; pain intensity
7.  Parent and child anxiety sensitivity: Relationship to children’s experimental pain responsivity 
Anxiety sensitivity (AS) or fear of anxiety sensations has been linked to childhood learning history for somatic symptoms, suggesting that parental AS may impact children’s responses to pain. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), we tested a conceptual model in which parent AS predicted child AS, which in turn predicted a hypothesized latent construct consisting of children’s pain intensity ratings for three laboratory pain tasks (cold pressor, thermal heat and pressure). This conceptual model was tested in 211 non-clinical parent-child pairs (104 girls, mean age = 12.4 years; 178 mothers). Our model was supported in girls only indicating that the sex of the child moderated the hypothesized relationships. Thus, parent AS was related to child laboratory pain intensity via its contribution to child AS in girls but not in boys. In girls, 42% of the effect of parent AS on laboratory pain intensity was explained via child AS. In boys, there was no clear link between parent AS and child AS, although child AS was predictive of experimental pain intensity across sex. Our results are consistent with the notion that parent AS may operate via healthy girls’ own fear of anxiety symptoms to influence their responses to laboratory pain stimuli.
Perspective-The present study highlights sex differences in the links among parent and child anxiety sensitivity (AS; fear of anxiety sensations) and children’s experimental pain responses. Among girls, childhood learning history related to somatic symptoms may be a particularly salient factor in the development of AS and pain responsivity.
doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2005.12.004
PMCID: PMC1540407  PMID: 16632321
anxiety sensitivity; laboratory pain; children; adolescents; parent; sex differences

Results 1-7 (7)