Parent pain catastrophizing predicts child depressive symptoms in youth with sickle cell disease

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018 Jul;65(7):e27027. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27027. Epub 2018 Mar 7.


Background: Youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) are at risk for recurrent pain and depressive symptoms, both of which contribute to poorer health outcomes. Furthermore, youth and family coping with child pain, including pain catastrophizing, is known to be associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment and greater functional disability among youth with SCD. In particular, child catastrophizing about pain and parent catastrophizing about their child's pain have been linked to increased pain and depressive symptoms in youth with chronic pain conditions. Despite this, the impact of child and parent pain catastrophizing on depressive symptoms remains unexplored in pediatric SCD.

Procedure: The current study evaluated the predictive value of child and parent pain catastrophizing on child depressive symptoms in a sample of 100 youth with SCD. Differences in child and parent pain catastrophizing across youth with and without clinically elevated depressive symptoms were also examined.

Results: Pain frequency and parent and child pain catastrophizing accounted for 35.9% of variance in child depressive symptoms, with only pain frequency and parent pain catastrophizing emerging as unique predictors of clinically elevated depressive symptoms. Additionally, parents of youth with clinically elevated depressive symptoms showed increased helplessness relative to parents of youth with minimal to mild depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Findings support the value of depression screening and interventions to promote parent self-efficacy in managing childhood SCD pain.

Keywords: depression; pain; pain catastrophizing; pediatric hematology; sickle cell disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology
  • Catastrophization / etiology*
  • Catastrophization / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Prognosis