Objective The combination of parental chronic pain and internalizing characteristics are relevant to chronic pain experiences in their children. A promising unified multifactorial intergenerational model of chronic pain was published in 2019; however, this model was only generalizable to children with severe chronic pain and some factors had limitations. This study aimed to determine validity of an adapted multifactorial model, including parent and child chronic pain status, pain characteristics, pain-related functioning, and internalizing symptoms, in a community setting. Subgroup analyses based on presence of chronic pain in parents and children were explored to determine whether effects were stronger in certain subsamples.
Methods Adolescents (N = 1,450, M = 12.7 years, 50% female), and their parents (82% mothers), were recruited from five schools to complete online surveys. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate interrelated pain-related experiences between parents and their offspring.
Results The adapted unified multifactorial model had good model fit in the community sample. Significant weak associations were found between all parent and child factors. The strongest associations were found in the subsample of parents and children with chronic pain. In all subgroups, internalizing factors were the most strongly linked intergenerational constructs.
Conclusions Our results support the validity of the unified multifactorial model of parental factors in pediatric chronic pain, although associations were weaker in the community sample than those previously reported in a clinical sample. In children who develop chronic pain, it is important to consider their parent’s chronic pain and internalizing symptoms to best manage intergenerational effects.