Association of Parental Chronic Pain With Chronic Pain in the Adolescent and Young Adult Family Linkage Data From the HUNT Study

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children’s and Women’s Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway.
JAMA pediatrics 02/2013; 167(1):61-9. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.422
Source: PubMed


To examine a possible association of parental chronic pain with chronic pain in the adolescent and young adult and to explore whether a relationship could be explained by socioeconomic and psychosocial factors or may be affected by differences in family structure.
Unselected, population-based, cross-sectional study.
Nord-Trøndelag County, Norway.
All inhabitants of Nord-Trøndelag County who were 13 years or older were invited to enroll in the study. In total, 8200 of 10 485 invitees (78.2%) participated in the investigation. Among 7913 participants in the target age group (age range, 13-18 years), 7373 (93.2%) completed the pain questions. The final study population consisted of 5370 adolescents or young adults for whom one or both parents participated in the adult survey.
The primary outcome measure was chronic nonspecific pain in adolescents and young adults, defined as pain in at least 1 location, unrelated to any known disease or injury, experienced at least once a week during the past 3 months. Chronic multisite pain was defined as chronic pain in at least 3 locations.
Maternal chronic pain was associated with chronic nonspecific pain and chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults (odds ratio, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3-1.8). Paternal chronic pain was associated with increased odds of pain in adolescents and young adults. The odds of chronic nonspecific pain and chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults increased when both parents reported pain. Adjustments for socioeconomic and psychosocial factors did not change the results, although differences in family structure did. Among offspring living primarily with their mothers, clear associations were observed between maternal pain and pain in adolescents and young adults, but no association was found with paternal pain.
Parental chronic pain is associated with chronic nonspecific pain and especially with chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults. Family structure influences the relationship, indicating that family pain models and shared environmental factors are important in the origin of chronic pain.

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    • "The finding by Schwartz and Parisi (2013) that adolescents with cancer have more health-related goals than their healthy peers supports this explanation. An additional explanation could arise from the finding that the majority of the participants had a parent with musculoskeletal pain, consistent with previous research (Stommen et al., 2012; Hoftun et al., 2013). Since health is probably an important issue in these families, it is reasonable that these children might mention health as an important future goal. "
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