Parental risk factors for the development of pediatric acute and chronic postsurgical pain: a longitudinal study
M Gabrielle Pagé,1 Fiona Campbell,2,3 Lisa Isaac,2,3 Jennifer Stinson,2,4 Joel Katz1,3,5
1Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; 3Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 4Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 5Department of Psychology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada
Background: The goal of this longitudinal study was to examine the associations among psychological factors and pain reports of children and their parents over the 12 month period after pediatric surgery.
Materials and methods: Included in the study were 83 children aged 8–18 years undergoing major surgery. In each case, the child and one of their parents completed measures of pain intensity and unpleasantness, psychological function, and functional disability at 48–72 hours, 2 weeks (child only), 6 months, and 12 months after surgery.
Results: The strength of the correlation coefficients between the psychological measures of the parent and their child increased significantly over time. There was a fair level of agreement between parent ratings of child acute and chronic pain (6 months after surgery) and the child's actual ratings. Parent and child pain anxiety scores 48–72 hours after surgery interacted significantly to predict pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and functional disability levels 2 weeks after discharge from hospital. Parent pain catastrophizing scores 48–72 hours after surgery predicted child pain intensity reports 12 months later.
Conclusion: These results raise the possibility that as time from surgery increases, parents exert greater and greater influence over the pain response of their children, so that by 12 months postsurgery mark, parent pain catastrophizing (measured in the days after surgery) is the main risk factor for the development of postsurgical pain chronicity.
Keywords: pain anxiety, pain catastrophizing, children, parental risk factors, postsurgical pain
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