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Psychosocial adjustment and physical health of children living with maternal chronic pain

journal contribution
posted on 2007-04-01, 00:00 authored by Subhadra EvansSubhadra Evans, T R Keenan, E A Shipton
AIM: There is limited research examining the functioning of children living with parental chronic pain and illness. The aim of this study was to examine the psychosocial adjustment and physical health of children living with a mother experiencing chronic pain. METHODS: One-hundred and three children aged 6-12 years served as participants, with approximately equal numbers of children in maternal chronic pain (n=55) and control groups (n=48). Children completed self-reports about their internalising behaviour, health and attachment security. Mothers, fathers and teachers completed questionnaires relating to children's internalising and externalising behaviour, social behaviour and physical health. RESULTS: Reports from children, mothers and fathers indicated significantly more internalising, externalising, insecure attachment and social and health problems for children in the maternal chronic pain group compared with control children. Teachers reported decreased social skills and increased pain complaints for children in the maternal chronic pain group. Boys in the maternal chronic pain group appear to be affected more than girls. Boys reported more anxiety and insecure attachment, while mothers reported greater social problems and increased illness behaviour for boys. Characteristics of the mother's pain condition, such as, severity, length and frequency were generally unrelated to child functioning. CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates the importance of maternal and family variables to child outcomes. The results are discussed in terms of maternal chronic pain comprising a considerable, yet rarely studied, influence in the lives of young children.



Journal of paediatrics and child health






262 - 270




Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)