Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Research >> Focus Areas >> Pain Medicine & Neuroscience >> An Internet CBT Intervention for Pediatric Chronic Pain and Disability
section identifcation image

Research Focus Areas:
Pain Medicine & Neuroscience

Problem Solving Skills Training for Parent Caregivers of Youth with Chronic Pain

Principal Investigators

T. Palermo, Ph.D.


Chronic pain affects 25-40% of children and adolescents, and results in a measurable decline in children's overall quality of life. Parents not only play a significant role in how their children cope with chronic pain but they also can experience their own widespread social, relational, emotional and financial impact. In particular, parents of youth with chronic pain report increased role stress, increased depressive symptoms, and reduced social functioning. Regardless of the reason for increased distress, multiple studies have found that parental psychological distress is associated with poorer child adjustment. Therefore, there is a critical need to consider methods of reducing parental distress in order to more effectively manage children's chronic pain and disability. To date, no intervention has been developed specifically to treat parents in the context of their child's chronic pain, despite need, and success in other evidence-based pain treatments in youth. The proposed project is designed to evaluate problem-solving skills training (PSST), an intervention proven effective for reducing parental distress in other caregiver populations of individuals with medical conditions. Our aims are to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of PSST as an intervention in parent caregivers of youth with chronic pain, and to conduct a preliminary efficacy trial of PSST in parents of youth with chronic pain. In this application, we propose first testing the intervention with 5 parent-child dyads in a pilot phase and then carrying out a randomized controlled trial of PSST in 60 parent caregivers of youth (10-17 years) with chronic pain recruited from two pain clinics. All children will be receiving specialty care for chronic pain. Parents randomized to the PSST intervention will, in addition, receive 8 individual sessions of problem-solving skills training over an 8-week treatment period while parents in the Standard Care control group will continue with prescribed treatments and recommendations for chronic pain management from the pain clinics. The primary study outcomes are parental depression and anxiety, parenting stress, and problem-solving skills and child physical and emotional functioning measured at pre-treatment, immediately post-treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes include parental impact of chronic pain and treatment satisfaction and acceptability. We propose the first ever intervention designed for, and delivered directly to, parental caregivers of youth with chronic pain. Findings will increase understanding of the interrelationships among parental and child functioning, and specifically will provide knowledge of how to augment effectively child and parent focused interventions. This innovation in treatment development will significantly advance psychological therapies for pediatric pain management, and ultimately may enhance quality of life in the substantial population of youth and their families affected by chronic pain.

Public Health Relevance

Reducing parental distress and negative affectivity may be critical to influencing children's abilities to manage chronic pain. Testing of interventions developed specifically for parents will increase understanding of how effectively to reduce parental distress, and how to complement child treatment with parental intervention strategies. The long-term goal of the research is to develop effective treatments to manage chronic pain and disability in youth through reducing parental distress and increasing their coping abilities.

Pain Medicine & Neuroscience:
Research Projects

An Internet CBT Intervention for Pediatric Chronic Pain and Disability
T. Palermo, Ph.D.
Cervical Sympathetic Block in Patients with Cerebral Vasospasm following Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemmorhage
M. DePinto, M.D., M.M. Treggiari, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Controlling Pain After Trauma
D. Patterson, Ph.D., S. R. Sharar, M.D., M. Jensen, Ph.D., H. Hoffman, Ph.D., et al.
Cytokine and Neurotransmitter Interactions in Sleep Regulation
M. R. Opp, Ph.D., L. Imeri, M.D.
Disability from Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury
P Rivara, M.D., M. S. Vavilala, M.D.
Drug Interactions at the Human Blood-Brain Barrier
J. D. Unadkat, Ph.D., K. B. Domino, M.D., M.P.H., A. Collier, M.D., et al.
Effectiveness of Oxymorphone for Acute Postoperative Pain Pediatric Subjects
S.Bhananker, M.D.
Identifying Virtual Reality Analgesia Mechanisms by Pharmacologic Manipulation
S. R. Sharar, M. D., D.A. Patterson, Ph.D, H.Hunter, Ph.D., et al.
Influence of Dexmedetomidine on the Evoked Potentials During Spine Surgery
Rozet, M.D.
Innovations In Pediatric Pain Research
T. Palermo, Ph.D.
Ketorolac in Surgical Infants: Pharmacokinetics/Analgesia
A.M. Lynn, M.D.
Mechanism Of Action Of Volatile Anesthetics
P.G. Morgan, M.D.
Memantine for Post-Operative Pain Control in the Opiate-Tolerant Patient
G. Terman, M.D., Ph.D.
Modulation of Pruritus by Spinal Cannabinoids
G. W. Terman, M.D.,Ph.D.
Molecular Mechanisms of Sleep Responses to Viral Infection
James Krueger, PhD (WSU: PI); Mark R. Opp, PhD (co-investigator/subcontract PI)
Neonatal Pain, Depression and Pain Susceptibility at Maturity in Rats
Gayle Page, DNSc, RN (Johns Hopkins: PI); Mark R. Opp, PhD (co-investigator/subcontract PI)
Neurologic Injury after Non-Supine Surgery Registry
L. A. Lee, M.D., L. Stephens, Ph.D., K. B. Domino, M.D., M.P.H., K. L. Posner, Ph.D.
Neuron-glial communication and brain aging
Paula Bickford, PhD (University of South Florida: PI); Carmelina Gemma, PhD (co-investigator/subcontract PI)
Neuronal-Glial Dialogue and Cognition
Carmelina Gemma, PhD (PI)
Neurotoxic Effects of Volatile Anesthetics in C. Elegans
P.G. Morgan, M.D.
Open Label Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Conivaptan (Vaprisol) to raise serum sodium levels in patients with severe traumatic brain injury
M. M. Treggiari, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., S. A. Deem, M.D., N.D. Yanez III, Ph.D.
Optimizing the Control of Pain from Severe Burns
D. Patterson, Ph.D.; S R. Sharar, MD; D. Heimbach, MD., J Doctor, Ph.D.
Patient Perceptions of the Benefits of Long-Term Opioid Therapy (PLOT) Initiative-Beliefs and Behaviors
D. C. Turk, Ph.D., J. P. Robinson., M.D., R. Landau, M.D.
Sepsis Outcomes and Aging: Role of Sleep Disruption and the Blood Brain Barrier
Mark R. Opp, PhD (PI); William A. Banks, MD (co-investigator); Richard M. Raymond, PhD (co-investigator)
Shared Decision Making in Orthopaedic Spine Surgery to Improve Patient Safety
K. B. Domino,M.D, M.P.H.; K. L. Posner, Ph.D. et al.
Sleep-Wake Disturbances in Adolescents with Chronic Pain Research
T. Palermo, Ph.D.
Subgroups of FMS: Symptoms, Beliefs & Tailored Treatments
D.C. Turk, Ph.D., J. Robinson, M.D., Ph.D.
Subjective and Neuroimaging Assessment of Combined Opioid and Virtual Reality Analgesia
S. R. Sharar, M.D., T. Richards, Ph.D.
Ultrasound Guided Rectus Sheath Block for Post-Operative Pain Control Following Umbilical Hernia Repair
S. Flack, M.D.
University of Washington Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes Discovery Center
D. S. Buchwald, M.D., N. Jimenez, M. D., et al.
Web-based CBT for Opioid-treated Chronic Pain Patients With Aberrant Behavior
Rosenblum, Ph.D., D.C. Turk, Ph.D.