Parents as Coping Coaches for Adolescents With Chronic Pain: A Single-Arm Pilot Feasibility Trial of a Brief, Group-Based, Cognitive–Behavioral Intervention Promoting Caregiver Self-Regulation

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Abstract

This project describes the development, feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of Parents as Coping Coaches (PaCC), a brief, group-based, cognitive–behavioral intervention designed to target caregiver burden and distress tolerance for parents of adolescents with chronic pain. Participants included parents (N = 22) of adolescents (N = 22, age 12–18) with idiopathic chronic pain. Our primary aim was to test whether PaCC, designed to meet unmet caregiver needs, was feasible and acceptable. Using a pre- and posttest design, we assessed caregiving burden, parent distress tolerance, protective parenting responses to the adolescent’s pain, readiness to change, adolescent pain burden, and adolescent functional disability. Most parents approached were enrolled (71%), attended all sessions (68%), provided follow-up data (95%), and were very satisfied with the 3 weekly sessions. Consistent with hypotheses, participation in the PaCC intervention was related to decreases in caregiving burden, protective and monitoring parenting responses to the adolescent’s pain, and parent-perceived adolescent pain burden and disability. Associations between parent and adolescent reports of readiness to change were observed pre- and postintervention. Collectively, initial findings demonstrate feasibility, acceptability, and promising preliminary efficacy for PaCC.

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