Exploring Sociodemographic and Personality Characteristic Predictors of Parental Pain Perceptions


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Abstract

BACKGROUND:We studied the relationship between children's and parents' sociodemographic and personality characteristics and parents' perceptions of their children's pain.METHODS:One-hundred-ten parents of children undergoing surgery completed measures of pain perception (e.g., Medication Attitude Questionnaire; MAQ) and parent and child personality characteristics (e.g., Neuroticism, Extraversion and Openness to experience Five-Factor Inventory; NEO-FFI). Factor analysis and logistic regression models were developed.RESULTS:In terms of pain medication perceptions (MAQ), descriptive analysis showed that more than 70% of parents feared side effects of analgesia, 43% thought analgesics were addictive, and 37% thought that the less often children receive analgesia, the better it worked. Factor analyses of the MAQ revealed a three factor solution explaining 52% of the variance in parental pain medication perceptions. Conceptually, these factors represented Appropriate Use Attitude of Analgesics, Concerns about Side Effects, and Avoidance of Analgesia. Stepwise regression models were used to identify predictors of parents' scores on each of the three factors. Results indicated that less educated parents and parents of more sociable and more reactive children were more likely to indicate that they would avoid giving analgesia (Avoidance factor; P < 0.001). Parents with higher conscientiousness scores (NEO-FFI) and those with more impulsive children were more likely to perceive that analgesia was appropriate to use for child pain (Appropriate Use Attitude factor; P < 0.001).DISCUSSION:We conclude that many parents have misconceptions of pain and analgesics, and that child and parent personality characteristics can be used to identify parents at risk of these misconceptions.

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