Prior studies have demonstrated that parental cognitive, behavioral and emotional factors are related to child functioning in children and adolescents with chronic pain. This is particularly important to understand how to potentially enhance the efficacy of psychological interventions for children by incorporating interventions targeting parents. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify the specific parent factors that have been examined in the literature and to quantify the associations observed between parent factors and child pain and disability. A search of the electronic databases EMBASE, PsychINFO, Medline and PubMed was conducted, using search terms related to chronic pain, pediatric population and parents. 54 studies met criteria and were included in the review. Parent pain catastrophizing and protective behavior were the most commonly assessed parental constructs in the literature. Meta-analyses were conducted for associations between: parent pain catastrophizing, parent protective behaviors, parent anxiety and depression and parent stress associated with parenting a child with chronic pain with child pain, disability, school functioning and emotional functioning. Correlation coefficients were pooled using the random-effects model. A medium relationship was observed between higher protective behavior and poorer school functioning (r = -0.39); and small relationships were found between higher parent pain catastrophizing and increased child disability (r = 0.29); higher protective behaviors and increased child disability (r = 0.25); and increased parent depression and anxiety with increased child disability (r = 0.23 and r = 0.24 respectively). Future research is needed to investigate broader parent variables and overcome methodological weaknesses in this field.
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