Parents' ability to perceive pain experienced by their child with Down syndrome

J Orofac Pain. 2003 Fall;17(4):347-53.


Aims: To investigate parents' ability to perceive pain experienced by their offspring with Down syndrome (DS).

Methods: Data were gathered by the use of the Oral Assessment in Down Syndrome Questionnaire in a cross-sectional survey design in France. A sample of parents of 204 children with DS and 161 of their siblings without DS was accrued.

Results: Parental reports of difficulty discerning if their child with DS was in pain did not change with age of the child, remaining at a prevalence of 28% to 32%. Reports of difficulty discerning where that child felt pain diminished with older age from 74% to 27%. The likelihood of parents reporting difficulty discerning if and where their child with DS had pain was greater than for a sibling without DS. However, reports of pain experience for the 2 groups were the same. Moreover, different functional and dysfunctional behavioral variables were found to be predictors of these 2 pain perception variables.

Conclusion: Parental perception of pain is less discriminant for children with DS than for their siblings without DS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Facial Pain / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires