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Article

Social modulation of facial pain display in high-catastrophizing children: An observational study in schoolchildren and their parents

Citation
Vervoort T, Caes L, Trost Z, Sullivan MJL, Vangronsveld K & Goubert L (2011) Social modulation of facial pain display in high-catastrophizing children: An observational study in schoolchildren and their parents. Pain, 152 (7), pp. 1591-1599. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2011.02.048

Abstract
The present study examined existing communal and operant accounts of children's pain behavior by looking at the impact of parental presence and parental attention upon children's pain expression as a function of child pain catastrophizing. Participants were 38 school children and 1 of their parents. Children completed a cold pressor pain task (CPT) twice, first when told that no one was observing (alone condition) and subsequently when told that they were being observed by their parent (parent-present condition). A 3-minute parent-child interaction occurred between the 2 CPT immersions, allowing measurement of parental attention to their child's pain (ie, parental pain-attending talk vs non-pain-attending talk). Findings showed that child pain catastrophizing moderated the impact of parental presence upon facial displays of pain. Specifically, low-catastrophizing children expressed more pain in the presence of their parent, whereas high-catastrophizing children showed equally pronounced pain expression when alone or in the presence of a parent. Furthermore, children's catastrophizing moderated the impact of parental attention upon facial displays and self-reports of pain; higher levels of parental nonpain talk were associated with increased facial expression and self-reports of pain among high-catastrophizing children; for low-catastrophizing children, facial and self-report of pain was independent of parental attention to pain. The findings are discussed in terms of possible mechanisms that may drive and maintain pain expression in high-catastrophizing children, as well as potential limitations of traditional theories in explaining pediatric pain expression. The impact of parental presence and parental attention to the child's pain upon the child's pain expression is moderated by the child's catastrophizing about pain. © 2011 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Journal
Pain: Volume 152, Issue 7

StatusPublished
Author(s)Vervoort, Tine; Caes, Line; Trost, Zina; Sullivan, Michael J L; Vangronsveld, Karoline; Goubert, Liesbet
Publication date31/07/2011
Publication date online02/04/2011
Date accepted by journal24/02/2011
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/26039
PublisherElsevier for International Association for the Study of Pain
ISSN0304-3959
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