Parent pain responses as predictors of daily activities and mood in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: the utility of electronic diaries

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Mar;39(3):579-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.07.013.


The present study used electronic diaries to examine how parent responses to their child's pain predict daily adjustment of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Nine school-aged children with JIA along with one of their parents completed thrice-daily assessments of pain-related variables, activity participation, and mood using handheld computers (Palm pilots) for 14 days, yielding a potential of 42 child and parent assessments for each dyad. Children provided information on current pain level, mood, and participation in social, physical, and school activities. Parents independently rated their own mood as well as their behavioral responses to their child's pain at the same time points using a separate handheld computer. Results of multilevel modeling analyses demonstrated that use of "protective" pain responses by parents significantly predicted decreases in child activity and positive mood, with an even stronger inverse relationship between protective pain response and positive mood observed in children with higher than average disease severity. Protective pain responses were not found to be significantly predictive of daily negative mood in children. The use of "distracting" responses by parents significantly predicted less child activity restrictions but only in children having higher disease severity. There also was an unexpected trend in which parent use of more distracting pain responses tended to be associated with lower child positive mood. These preliminary findings suggest the importance of the parent in influencing adjustment in children with JIA and lend support to the incorporation of parents into comprehensive pain management approaches. The potential benefits of using electronic daily diaries as a strategy to examine pain and adjustment in children with JIA pain are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / psychology*
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Social Behavior