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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Social modulation of facial pain display in high-catastrophizing children: An observational study in schoolchildren and their parents
Author(s): Vervoort, Tine
Caes, Line
Trost, Zina
Sullivan, Michael J L
Vangronsveld, Karoline
Goubert, Liesbet
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Issue Date: Jul-2011
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.
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.
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