Parent pain and catastrophizing are associated with pain, somatic symptoms, and pain-related disability among early adolescents

J Pediatr Psychol. 2014 May;39(4):418-26. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jst094. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


Objective: To examine associations between parental history of pain and catastrophizing and their adolescent's pain, somatic symptoms, catastrophizing, and disability.

Methods: Participants included 178 youths aged 11-14 years recruited through public schools. Adolescents completed measures assessing pain characteristics, somatic symptoms, and pain catastrophizing. Parents reported on their own pain, and catastrophizing about their adolescent's pain.

Results: About one quarter of the adolescents and two thirds of parents reported having pain. Parent pain was associated with adolescent pain, somatic symptoms, and pain catastrophizing. Parent catastrophizing was a significant predictor of adolescent somatic symptoms and pain-related disability, beyond the contribution of parent pain. Adolescent catastrophizing mediated the association between parent catastrophizing and adolescent pain-related disability.

Conclusions: Parent history of pain and pain-related cognitions may contribute to adolescent risk for chronic pain.

Keywords: adolescence; childhood; pain; pain catastrophizing; parent factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Catastrophization / psychology*
  • Child
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*