Parent perceptions of child vulnerability are associated with functioning and health care use in children with chronic pain.
CONTEXT: The extent to which parent variables are associated with the level of disability experienced by children with persistent pain has been an area of increasing research. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the extent to which parent perceptions of their child's vulnerability are associated with functioning and health care utilization among children with persistent pain. We also evaluated whether perceptions of child vulnerability contribute to an indirect relationship between parent distress and child functioning and/or child health care utilization. METHODS: The study sample comprised 87 patients aged 6-18 years and a parent attending a chronic pain clinic. Children completed questionnaires on functional limitations, and parents completed questionnaires on parent distress, perceptions of child vulnerability, and extent of the child's pain-related health care utilization. Hierarchical regression and bootstrapping mediation analyses were used to test study hypotheses. RESULTS: Perceptions of child vulnerability were found to be clinically elevated in nearly half (46%) of parents/caregivers, and average child functional ability for the sample was substantially lower than healthy norms. Parent perceptions of greater child vulnerability were significantly associated with poorer child functioning and more child pain-related health care utilization regardless of child age, sex, and duration of persistent pain. Parent distress was found to be indirectly related to child health care utilization through parent perceptions of child vulnerability but directly related to child functioning. CONCLUSION: Parent perceptions of child vulnerability appear important for understanding levels of child functional limitations and health care utilization among children with chronic pain.
Connelly, M; Anthony, KK; Schanberg, LE
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