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Eur J Pain. 2009 Feb;13(2):196-201. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2008.03.009. Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Catastrophizing about their children's pain is related to higher parent-child congruency in pain ratings: an experimental investigation.

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Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Little is known about the variables that account for why parents underestimate the pain of their child. In the present experiment, the joint impact of parental catastrophizing about their child's pain and children's facial pain expressions was examined upon pain estimates of their child undergoing a pressure pain test. In line with previous research, parents underestimated their children's pain. Interestingly, it was found that pain was estimated as higher when the child showed more facial pain expressions and when parents catastrophized more about their child's pain. An intriguing finding was that catastrophizing about their child's pain was related to less parent-child incongruence in pain ratings. The discussion addresses the possible functions of catastrophizing of parents about their children's pain, and delineates avenues for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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