Parent Responses to Child Pain During Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain Treatment and 1-Year Follow-Up

J Pain. 2018 Nov;19(11):1275-1284. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 17.


Targeting parents' responses to their child's pain during intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment (IIPT) could influence child functioning. This longitudinal, observational study investigated changes in these responses and concurrent relationships between parent responses and changes in levels of child functioning and pain. Parents of youths 10 to 19 years of age (mean = 15 years, SD = 1.98 years) participated in twice weekly, parent-only groups while their teens were enrolled in IIPT (mean length of treatment = 3.93 weeks, SD = 1.16 weeks). Parent responses to child symptoms, as well as child pain and functional disability, were assessed weekly during treatment (n = 114) and at 3 follow-up visits: 1 month (n = 96), 6 months (n = 68), and 12 months (n = 45). Longitudinal multilevel modeling analyses indicated statistically significant decreases during treatment in parents' protective, monitoring, and minimizing responses and further improvement in all responses during follow-up. These changes were associated with concurrent changes in child disability. However, changes in parent behaviors occurred independently from changes in child pain levels. Baseline child characteristics affected neither baseline parent responses to pain nor changes over time. Results indicate that, in the context of IIPT, parental responses are amenable to change and that these changes may impact child pain-related functioning, providing further support for the role of parent-specific programming within IIPT. PERSPECTIVE: During intensive IIPT, parents made statistically significant changes in responses to their child's pain, which was associated with improvements in child disability, but not child pain. Changes were sustained through 1-year follow-up. Targeting parental responses to child pain is feasible and may relate to improved child functioning.

Keywords: Adolescents; Chronic pain; Intensive treatment; Parent responses.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Young Adult