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
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
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
This article surveys the use of pain charts or pain drawings in eliciting information about the location of pain symptoms from children and adolescents. While pain charts are widely used and have been incorporated in multidimensional pediatric pain questionnaires and diaries, they present a number of issues requiring further study. These include, in particular, the number and size of different locations or areas of pain that need to be differentiated; the age at which children are able to complete pain charts unassisted; and whether the intensity and other qualities of pain can be accurately recorded on pain charts by children and adolescents. Based on data currently available, it is suggested that the unassisted use of pain charts be restricted to children aged 8 years or over, while for clinical purposes many younger children can complete pain charts with adult support. Where the investigator’s interest is restricted to a few areas of the body, checklists of body parts may have greater utility than pain charts. A new pain chart adapted for use in studies of pediatric recurrent and chronic pain is presented.
This study employed a mixed-method design to test sex-specific parent-child pain associations. Subjects were 179 chronic pain patients aged 11–19 years (mean = 14.34; 72% female) presenting for treatment at a multidisciplinary, tertiary clinic. Mothers and children completed questionnaires prior to their clinic visit, including measures of children’s pain, functioning and psychological characteristics. Mothers also reported on their own pain and psychological functioning. Interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of 34 mothers and children prior to the clinic visit and analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The quantitative data suggest stronger mother-daughter than mother-son pain relationships. The qualitative data suggest that girls’ pain and pain-related disability is related to an overly enmeshed mother-daughter relationship and the presence of maternal models of pain, while boys’ pain and disability is linked to male pain models and criticism and to maternal worry and solicitousness. Boys and girls appear to have developmentally incongruous levels of autonomy and conformity to maternal expectations. The mixed-method data suggest distinct trajectories through which mother and father involvement may be linked to chronic pain in adolescent boys and girls.
Sex differences; parent-child relationships; chronic pain
Little is known about how sociodemographic factors relate to children’s chronic pain. This paper describes the pain, health, and sociodemographic characteristics of a cohort of children presenting to an urban tertiary chronic pain clinic and documents the role of age, sex and minority status on pain-related characteristics. A multidisciplinary, tertiary clinic specializing in pediatric chronic pain. Two hundred and nineteen patients and their parents were given questionnaire packets to fill out prior to their intake appointment which included demographic information, clinical information, Child Health Questionnaire – Parent Report, Functional Disability Index – Parent Report, Child Somatization Index – Parent Report, and a Pain Intensity Scale. Additional clinical information was obtained from patients’ medical records via chart review. This clinical sample exhibited compromised functioning in a number of domains, including school attendance, bodily pain, and health compared to normative data. Patients also exhibited high levels of functional disability. Minority children evidenced decreased sleep, increased somatization, higher levels of functional disability, and increased pain intensity compared to Caucasians. Caucasians were more likely to endorse headaches than minorities, and girls were more likely than boys to present with fibromyalgia. Younger children reported better functioning than did teens. The results indicate that sociodemographic factors are significantly associated with several pain-related characteristics in children with chronic pain. Further research must address potential mechanisms of these relationships and applications for treatment.
Chronic pain; pediatric; clinical cohort; ethnic differences
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.
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.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, disabling disease that can compromise mobility, daily functioning, and health-related quality of life, especially in older adolescents and young adults. In this project, we will compare a standardized Iyengar yoga program for young people with rheumatoid arthritis to a standard care wait-list control condition.
Seventy rheumatoid arthritis patients aged 16-35 years will be randomized into either the 6-week Iyengar yoga program (12 - 1.5 hour sessions twice weekly) or the 6-week wait-list control condition. A 20% attrition rate is anticipated. The wait-list group will receive the yoga program following completion of the first arm of the study. We will collect data quantitatively, using questionnaires and markers of disease activity, and qualitatively using semi-structured interviews. Assessments include standardized measures of general and arthritis-specific function, pain, mood, and health-related quality of life, as well as qualitative interviews, blood pressure/resting heart rate measurements, a medical exam and the assessment of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Data will be collected three times: before treatment, post-treatment, and two months following the treatment.
Results from this study will provide critical data on non-pharmacologic methods for enhancing function in rheumatoid arthritis patients. In particular, results will shed light on the feasibility and potential efficacy of a novel intervention for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, paving the way for a larger clinical trial.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects as many as 14% of high school-aged students. Symptoms include discomfort in the abdomen, along with diarrhea and/or constipation and other gastroenterological symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life and daily functioning. Emotional stress appears to exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms suggesting that mind-body interventions reducing arousal may prove beneficial. For many sufferers, symptoms can be traced to childhood and adolescence, making the early manifestation of irritable bowel syndrome important to understand. The current study will focus on young people aged 14-26 years with irritable bowel syndrome. The study will test the potential benefits of Iyengar yoga on clinical symptoms, psychospiritual functioning and visceral sensitivity. Yoga is thought to bring physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to practitioners and has been associated with reduced stress and pain. Through its focus on restoration and use of props, Iyengar yoga is especially designed to decrease arousal and promote psychospiritual resources in physically compromised individuals. An extensive and standardized teacher-training program support Iyengar yoga's reliability and safety. It is hypothesized that yoga will be feasible with less than 20% attrition; and the yoga group will demonstrate significantly improved outcomes compared to controls, with physiological and psychospiritual mechanisms contributing to improvements.
Sixty irritable bowel syndrome patients aged 14-26 will be randomly assigned to a standardized 6-week twice weekly Iyengar yoga group-based program or a wait-list usual care control group. The groups will be compared on the primary clinical outcomes of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, quality of life and global improvement at post-treatment and 2-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes will include visceral pain sensitivity assessed with a standardized laboratory task (water load task), functional disability and psychospiritual variables including catastrophizing, self-efficacy, mood, acceptance and mindfulness. Mechanisms of action involved in the proposed beneficial effects of yoga upon clinical outcomes will be explored, and include the mediating effects of visceral sensitivity, increased psychospiritual resources, regulated autonomic nervous system responses and regulated hormonal stress response assessed via salivary cortisol.
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.
children; pain; family; parents
This paper uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact of pain-associated functioning limitations on children's lives and the strategies they develop to try to continue functioning. Forty-five children ages 10-18 completed standardized questionnaires and participated in semistructured interviews prior to intake at a university-based tertiary clinic specializing in the treatment of pediatric chronic pain. All the children reported that pain limited their functioning in everyday activities and that these limitations caused them frustration and distress. Qualitative analysis identified three distinct functioning patterns or groups, which were designated as Adaptive, Passive, and Stressed. The groups did not differ significantly in demographics or clinical pain characteristics. Adaptive children continued to participate in many activities and were more likely to realize that focusing on pain would heighten their perception of pain. Children in this group reported more effective use of distraction and of other independently developed strategies to continue functioning. Passive children had given up most activities, tended to use passive distraction when in pain, and were more likely to feel isolated and different from peers. Stressed children described themselves as continuing to function, but were highly focused on their pain and the difficulties of living with it. The qualitative groupings were supported by quantitative findings that Stressed children reported a higher degree of social anxiety than did Passive children and were more likely than the other groups to report experiencing pain throughout the day. Finally, Adaptive children were rated by their parents as having better overall health compared to Passive children.
children; chronic pain; functioning; United States
Previous research has established links between parent and child pain. However, little is known about sex-specific parent-child pain relationships in a nonclinical population. A sample of 186 children aged eight to 18 years (49% female) provided information on maternal and self bodily pain, assessed by asking children about the presence and location of bodily pain experienced. Children also completed three laboratory pain tasks and reported on cold pressor pain intensity, pressure pain intensity and heat pain intensity. The presence of child-reported maternal pain was consistently correlated with daughters’ bodily and laboratory pain, but not with sons’ pain in bivariate analyses. Multivariate analyses controlling for child age and maternal psychological distress indicated that children of mothers with bodily pain reported more total bodily pain sites as well as greater pressure and cold pain intensity, relative to children of mothers without bodily pain. For cold pain intensity, these results differed for boys versus girls, in that daughters reporting maternal pain evidenced significantly higher cold pain intensity compared with daughters not reporting maternal pain. No such differences were found for boys. The findings suggest that children’s perceptions of maternal pain may play a role in influencing children’s own experience of pain, and that maternal pain models may affect boys and girls differently.
Children; Pain; Sex differences; Social learning