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BACKGROUND: 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. OBJECTIVES: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/ard.2003.014670

Type

Journal article

Journal

Annals of the rheumatic diseases

Publication Date

09/2004

Volume

63

Pages

1152 - 1154

Addresses

Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK. gareth.jones@man.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Pain, Low Back Pain, Pain Measurement, Risk Factors, Cross-Sectional Studies, Parent-Child Relations, Sick Role, Child Behavior Disorders, Adolescent, Child, Child of Impaired Parents, Female, Male