Parental Perceptions of Pediatric Pain and POTS-Related Disability

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Adolescents with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) often have pain and functional impairment. This study evaluated how parental attributions of children’s symptoms relate to child functional impairment. Adolescents with chronic pain and clinical symptoms suggestive of autonomic dysfunction (fatigue, dizziness, nausea) that attended a multidisciplinary chronic pain clinic completed measures of depression, anxiety, and functioning (n = 141). Parents of 114 of these patients completed the Parent Pain Attribution Questionnaire (PPAQ), a measure indicating the extent they believe physical and psychosocial factors account for their child’s health condition. Patients were retrospectively grouped as to whether or not they had significant POTS on tilt table testing (n = 37). Greater parental attribution to physical causes was associated with increased levels of functional disability whether patients had POTS (r = 0.45, P = .006) or not (r = 0.25, P = .03). These results suggest that providers should advocate a more comprehensive family-oriented rehabilitative approach to treatment.

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