Does Parental Response to Children’s Pain Moderate the Association Between Pain Severity and Functional Disability? An Examination of Noncardiac Chest Pain

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Objective We sought to examine whether parental responses to children’s noncardiac chest pain moderate the relationship between child’s pain severity and functional disability. Methods 77 children (ages 8–18 years) with noncardiac chest pain and their parents were recruited from pediatric cardiology clinics in Israel. Children completed measures assessing pain (intensity/frequency) and functioning. Parents and children completed measures assessing parental responses to children’s pain. Results Parental protective responses (parent and child report) moderated the relationship between child’s pain intensity and frequency and functional disability. Parental encouraging/monitoring responses (child report only) moderated the relationship between child’s pain intensity and functional disability. As expected, the association between pain and disability was greater for children and adolescents whose parents were higher in these behaviors. Conclusions Parental protective and encouraging/monitoring behavior may exacerbate the impact of pain on functioning. Interventions that promote more adaptive responses to children’s pain may help reduce disability in youth with pain.

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