Post-traumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents with chronic pain: A topical review of the literature and a proposed framework for future research

Amy Holley, Anna Wilson, M. Noel, T. M. Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objective: The co-occurrence of chronic pain and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has gained increasing research attention. Studies on associations among pain and PTSS or PTSD in youth have largely been conducted in the context of acute injury or trauma. Less is known about the risk for co-occurrence with paediatric chronic pain. In this review, we (1) propose a conceptual framework to outline factors salient during childhood that may be associated with symptom severity, co-occurrence and mutual maintenance, (2) present relevant literature on PTSS in youth with acute and chronic pain and identify research gaps and (3) provide recommendations to guide paediatric research examining shared symptomatology. Databases and data treatment: Electronic databases (PubMed and Google Scholar) were used to identify relevant articles using the search terms 'child, adolescent, paediatric, chronic pain, acute pain, post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder'. Studies were retrieved and reviewed based on relevance to the topic. Results: Our findings revealed that existing biobehavioural and ecological models of paediatric chronic pain lack attention to traumatic events or the potential development of PTSS. Paediatric studies are also limited by lack of a conceptual framework for understanding the prevalence, risk and trajectories of PTSS in youth with chronic pain. Conclusions: Our new developmentally informed framework highlights individual symptoms and shared contextual factors that are important when examining potential associations among paediatric chronic pain and PTSS. Future studies should consider bidirectional and mutually maintaining associations, which will be aided by prospective, longitudinal designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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