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Papers of the Week

2019 Dec

J Child Adolesc Trauma



Child Maltreatment, Chronic Pain, and Other Chronic Health Conditions in Youth in Foster Care.


Huffhines L, Jackson Y
J Child Adolesc Trauma. 2019 Dec; 12(4):437-445.
PMID: 32318213.


Childhood maltreatment is associated with chronic pain in adults. The goals of this study were 1) to examine this relation in youth placed in foster care with high levels of maltreatment exposure, and 2) to investigate the relation between maltreatment frequency and acute pain, and maltreatment frequency and general chronic health condition. Participants included 403 youth ages 8-19 who resided in foster or residential/group homes. Youth with more maltreatment events had higher odds of chronic pain in a dose response fashion. There was no significant relation between maltreatment type and pain diagnosis, or maltreatment and general chronic health condition. This study examined both self- and case file report of maltreatment frequency and type in association with chronic pain, acute pain, and general chronic health condition in a sample of youth in foster care, providing evidence that more maltreatment exposure increases the likelihood of chronic pain, even in youth. This suggests that it may not take decades for the overloaded stress response system to lead to a serious pain condition, but that this process may occur much earlier in the lifespan. The findings have important implications for professionals working to prevent and treat the effects of child maltreatment or chronic pain.