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Papers: 30 Apr 2022 - 6 May 2022


2022 May 02

J Child Health Care

Don’t judge a book by its cover: Exploring low self-reported distress and repressive coping in a pediatric chronic pain population.


Ruskin DA, Dentakos S, Craig S, Campbell F, Isaac L, Stinson J, Tyrrell J, Lyon RE, O'Connor K, Brown SC
J Child Health Care. 2022 May 02:13674935221096925.
PMID: 35499965.


Repression has been linked to greater illness, somatic symptoms, and poorer physical health, both in adult and pediatric populations. The current study examined psychological and pain profiles of children with chronic pain who may under-report levels of psychological distress at a first interdisciplinary chronic pain assessment. Children and their caregiver completed measures of psychopathology and pain intensity, while clinicians rated their levels of disability. Based on self-report measures, children were classified as "repressors" (low anxiety/high social desirability) or as "true low anxious" (low anxiety/low social desirability). Groups were then compared on psychological and pain characteristics. Compared to children with true low anxiety, repressors reported lower levels of depressive and somatic symptoms but provided higher ratings on pain intensity, pain-unpleasantness, and self-oriented perfectionism. Caregivers of repressors rated their children as having higher levels of adaptability compared to caregivers of children in the true low anxious group. Groups did not differ on clinician-rated level of disability. Children classified as repressors exhibited different profiles than children classified as having true low anxiety on both psychological outcomes and pain characteristics. Repression may be an important factor to consider for those assessing and treating children with chronic pain.