Psychological Interventions for Parents of Youth With Chronic Pain: A Scoping Review

Clin J Pain. 2021 Nov 1;37(11):825-844. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000977.


Objective: Parents are integral to their youth's chronic pain experiences, and intervening with parents may improve parent and youth functioning. Existing systematic reviews are not specific to pain or do not systematically report critical aspects to facilitate implementation of parent interventions in diverse settings. Thus, this scoping review aimed to map published parent interventions for pediatric chronic pain to summarize the participant and intervention characteristics, treatment components, methods, outcomes, feasibility, and acceptability, as well as identify gaps for future research.

Methods: Four databases were searched (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Google Scholar). Studies of any design reporting psychological interventions including parents of youth (0 to 18 y) with chronic pain were included. Data on study characteristics, treatment components, effectiveness, and feasibility/acceptability were extracted.

Results: Fifty-four studies met inclusion criteria from 9312 unique titles. The majority were nonrandomized cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions delivered individually. The degree of parent participation ranged from 17% to 100%; the average enrollment rate was 68%. Reported parent and youth outcomes were variable; 26% of studies did not include any parent-related outcomes.

Discussion: Parent interventions may be a helpful and feasible way to support parents and youth with chronic pain. There is variability across study characteristics, treatment content/aims, parent participation, and parent/youth outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Psychosocial Intervention