Pain, Physical, and Psychosocial Functioning in Adolescents at Risk for Developing Chronic Pain: A Longitudinal Case-Control Stusdy

Anna C. Wilson, Amy L. Holley, Amanda Stone, Jessica L. Fales, Tonya M. Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This longitudinal case-control study aims to 1) compare symptoms and functioning in otherwise healthy adolescents with versus without a parent with chronic pain (Parent CP+/Parent CP−) 2) test adolescent sex as a moderator of the relation between parent CP group and child functioning, and 3) determine changes in adolescent pain over 1 year. Adolescents (n = 140; ages 11–15) completed tests of pain responsivity and physical function, as well as self-report measures assessing pain characteristics, somatic symptoms, and physical and psychosocial functioning. Self-reported pain and somatic symptoms were reassessed 1 year later. Adolescents in the Parent CP+ group reported greater pain, somatic symptoms, and worse physical health than Parent CP− youth. Parent CP+ youth performed worse on all tests of physical function. Some observed effects were stronger for girls than boys. There were no differences between groups on pain responsivity. Both groups reported increased pain and somatic symptoms from baseline to 1-year follow-up, with the Parent CP+ group reporting the highest level of symptoms at both time points. This study highlights the potential impact of parental pain status on children, particularly daughters, and is the first to document objective physical functioning differences in youth at risk for developing chronic pain. Perspective: Adolescents who have a parent with chronic pain demonstrate higher pain and lower physical function than adolescents who have a parent without chronic pain. Group differences in pain and somatic symptoms persist over 1 year. Family based interventions are needed for comprehensive pain prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Adolescents
  • chronic pain
  • disability
  • parents
  • pediatric pain
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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