Understanding solicitous parenting and pain acceptance in pediatric patients with abdominal pain

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DOI: 10.1037/cpp0000439


Objective: The current study sought to explore how solicitous parenting predicts patient engagement in valued activities (i.e., activity engagement) and prioritization of controlling pain (i.e., pain willingness), two factors of pain acceptance. We also examined how solicitous parenting and abdominal pain severity interact to predict these two factors. Method: Participants were 119 pediatric patients seen for an initial evaluation in a multidisciplinary abdominal pain clinic. Patients met criteria for a Rome functional gastrointestinal disorder, and, as part of standard care, patients and their caregivers completed questionnaires assessing solicitous parenting, pain acceptance, and abdominal pain severity. Results: Greater negatively reinforcing solicitous parenting predicted lower activity engagement and pain willingness. Further, positively reinforcing solicitous parenting did not add significant variance in predicting activity engagement or pain willingness after accounting for variance predicted by negatively reinforcing solicitous parenting. Last, while negatively reinforcing solicitous parenting and abdominal pain severity did not interact to predict activity engagement or pain willingness, abdominal pain severity predicted significant variance in each facet of pain acceptance even after accounting for negatively reinforcing solicitous parenting. Conclusions: Results suggest that patients experiencing negatively reinforcing solicitous parenting may engage in valued activities less and be less willing to tolerate pain while prioritizing other life goals. Findings highlight the importance of monitoring parenting behavior and identifying goals that will encourage patient action in the face of increased pain severity.

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Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology





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