Psychological problems in parents of children and adolescents with chronic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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Pediatric chronic pain conditions impose substantial suffering on youth and the stress and suffering associated with these problems can affect the mental health of parents. The objective of this review is to describe and quantify links between youth chronic pain and parental mental health. A systematic search of five electronic databases was conducted from their inceptions to December 2019. Studies were included if they had an observational study design, recruited parents of youth aged 0-18 years and suffering from chronic pain, and mental health outcomes were assessed in parents. Of the seven studies that met our inclusion criteria, two were eligible for meta-analysis and suggested that the mental health of these parents may be worse overall. While this finding was not statistically significant, it was supported by a number of other eligible studies. Research also suggests that child pain may increase the frequency but not intensity of stress events for parents, that mothers may experience a greater burden of psychological symptoms than fathers, and that the parents of youth with chronic pain may exhibit better social functioning. More research is needed to clarify the nature of the mental health risks present in parents of youth with chronic pain.
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