Pain and the Family header1

Co-Developing and Evaluating Interventions for Parents with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 Canadian children and adults, with associated impacts across physical, emotional, social, sleep, educational, occupational, and family functioning. However, the bigger, largely untold, story is that chronic pain is a family problem.  

Chronic pain tends to run in families. Approximately 50% of children with chronic pain have a parent with chronic pain. Children of parents with chronic pain are at significantly greater risk for pain, adverse birth outcomes, emotional and behavioural problems, social difficulties, and family dysfunction. Furthermore, parents of children with chronic pain experience higher role stress and feelings of helplessness, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Parents play a powerful role in in modeling, reinforcement, assessment, and management of children’s painThere is clearly a need to support both children and parents living with chronic pain.  

The unfortunate reality is that, no matter your age, access to chronic pain care is limited. Most interventions for parents of children with chronic pain focus on parenting with little to no attention to parents’ own health and coping. Families with both children and parents living with chronic pain are caught between the pediatric or adult healthcare systems, and struggle to get the care that all members of their family need.  

The goal of this project is to find out whether it is acceptable and feasible to offer psychological training for children with chronic pain and their parents with chronic pain at the same time. We also want to find out whether this approach is helpful for both parents and their children. If this works, it will offer a new model for how we support and offer pain care across multiple family generations.

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Project Lead

Katie Birnie, PhD RPsych
University of Calgary
Project Co-Lead Melanie Noel headshot)optimised

Project Co-Lead

Melanie Noel, PhD RPsych
University of Calgary

Researchers & Health Professionals

Sara Ahola Kohut, PhD CPsych
The Hospital for Sick Children 

Maria Pavlova, MSc
University of Calgary

Jaimie Beveridge, MSc
University of Calgary

Serena Orr, MD MSc
University of Calgary

Lindsay Craddock, NP
Alberta Health Services

Kyleigh Schraeder, PhD RPsych
University of Calgary

Patient Partners

Janice Sumpton, RPh BScPhm
London, Ontario 

Isabel Jordan, BSc (Hons)
Squamish, British Columbia 

Project Funders

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