Pediatric chronic pain has often been examined from a risk perspective, and relatively less is known about the individual and family-level resilience factors that help youth with chronic pain maintain their quality of life (QOL). This cross-sectional study: (1) examined the relations among purported youth and parent resilience (youth pain acceptance and pain self-efficacy, parent psychological flexibility) and risk (youth pain intensity and parent protectiveness) factors with youth QOL, and (2) tested exploratory statistical mechanisms that may explain relations between parent and youth variables.
Participants included 122 youth (10 to 17 y; M=14.26, SD=2.19) seen in an interdisciplinary pediatric chronic pain program and a parent. Youth completed measures of their average pain, QOL, pain acceptance, and pain self-efficacy. Parents completed measures of their pain-related psychological flexibility and behavioral responses to pain (ie, protectiveness, distraction, monitoring, minimizing).
Youth pain acceptance, pain self-efficacy, and parent psychological flexibility were highly positively correlated with each other, and with overall youth QOL. Evidence for a buffering effect of pain acceptance and pain self-efficacy on the association between pain intensity and QOL was not found. Protectiveness was found to be a significant mediator of the relation between parental psychological flexibility and youth QOL.
The results are discussed in the context of the resilience-risk framework and current understandings of the role of parental factors for pediatric chronic pain.