Objectives To examine the relationships between parental and family pain history and the pain report and physician-rated health status of children with chronic rheumatic disease, and to determine whether child coping strategy mediates the relationship between family pain history and the child’s pain and physician-rated health status.
Method Parents of 100 children were recruited from a paediatric rheumatology clinic during routine visits. Parents completed questionnaires assessing parental pain history and family characteristics. Children in the study completed a series of questionnaires to assess pain and pain coping strategies. A paediatric rheumatologist provided a global assessment of disease severity as an index of child health status.
Results A high number of parents of children seen in a paediatric rheumatology clinic described a personal pain history. Over 90% of parents reported having at least one chronic pain condition, with an equal proportion reporting an episode of pain in the past month. Correlational analyses indicated that parents reporting higher levels of current pain and higher mean levels of pain during the past month were more likely to have children reporting higher levels of current pain. In addition, parents who sought more treatment for their own pain and reported higher levels of pain-related interference with activity were more likely to have children reporting higher levels of pain and presenting with poorer health status. Finally, a series of mediational statistical models confirmed that child use of the pain coping strategy, catastrophizing, mediated the relationship between several parent and family pain history variables and the child’s own current pain ratings and physician global assessment.
Conclusions The results from the present study highlight potentially important relationships between parent and child pain experiences and suggest that parents should participate in interventions aimed at improving children’s abilities to cope with pain.
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