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Parental Sex and Age: Their Effect on Pain Assessment of Young Children

Rosenbloom, Ehud MD*; Goldman, Michael MD†‡; Konki, Nissim PhD*; Edelman, Sigalit RN*; Baram, Wendy RN*; Kozer, Eran MD*‡

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182131438
Original Articles

Objective: This study aimed to determine whether mothers and fathers assess pain in their offspring differently and to assess other variables that may affect the way parents assess their child's pain.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted at a university-affiliated hospital in Israel. Children who were 0 to 4 years, who came to the emergency department with both parents and underwent a painful procedure, were included. The investigators provided instructions regarding the use of a visual analog scale (VAS) to both parents at the same time using a standard information kit. Both parents were asked to rank the child's pain on a 100-mm VAS. Parents were blinded to each other's score.

Results: A total of 61 couples were examined. There was no significant difference between mothers' VAS (59.1 ± 27.4) compared with father's VAS (57.9 ± 26.3) (P = 0.75).

When analyses were stratified by mothers' age, the VAS declined from 67.4 ± 29 among mothers at the lowest age tertile to 48.4 ± 29 among mothers at the oldest age tertile. The fathers' VAS declined from 63.1 ± 25 among participants at the lowest age tertile to 51.3 ± 27 in the oldest age tertile.

Conclusions: Fathers and mothers do not differ in their evaluation of their children's rating of pain. Younger parents, compared with older ones, tend to evaluate pain as more severe.

From the *Pediatric Emergency Unit, and †Department of Pediatrics, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin; and ‡The Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Reprints: Eran Kozer, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin 70300, Israel (e-mail:

The authors did not receive funding for this study.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.