Parental pain is not associated with pain in the child: A population based study

Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (Impact Factor: 10.38). 10/2004; 63(9):1152-4. DOI: 10.1136/ard.2003.014670
Source: PubMed


Child pain is associated with adverse psychosocial factors. Some studies have shown an association between children's and parental pain. Children may "learn" pain behaviour from their parents.
To examine whether an association exists between parent and child pain, and, if so, whether this relationship persists after adjusting for psychosocial difficulties in the child.
1326 schoolchildren took part in a questionnaire based, cross sectional survey. Parents of study participants were sent a postal questionnaire. Occurrence of body pain was ascertained using blank body manikins and, in children, psychosocial factors were assessed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Three child-parent pain relationships were examined: any child pain with any parental pain or with parental widespread pain; and child low back pain with parental low back pain.
The risk of child pain associated with parental reporting of pain was minor, and non-significant. Even when both parents reported widespread pain, the relative risk of pain in the child, after adjusting for age and psychosocial difficulties, was 1.2 (95% CI 0.5 to 3.2).
Parental pain is not a risk for child pain. Pain behaviour is not learned. Rather, child pain is probably attributable to individual factors and the social environment.

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