Parenting an adolescent with complex regional pain syndrome: a dyadic qualitative investigation of resilience

Danielle Cox, Joanna L. McParland, Abbie Jordan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives
Adolescent chronic pain exists within a social context, affecting the lives of adolescents, parents, peers, and wider family members. Typically, parental research has focussed on the negative impact on parents associated with parenting an adolescent with chronic pain. However, a small number of studies have identified positive parental outcomes and functioning, with a focus on parental resilience. This study sought to extend existing knowledge by providing a detailed and contextualized understanding of how parental dyads experience and demonstrate resilience in response to parenting an adolescent with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and the meaning that parents ascribe to these shared experiences.

Design
An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to conduct an in-depth qualitative interview study of parents of an adolescent with CRPS.

Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted via Skype with eight mother–father parental dyads of an adolescent aged 11–25 years with CRPS.

Results
A single prominent theme ‘masking reality in the face of pain’ dominated the parental discourse and experience of resilience. Resilience was experienced as an incongruence between private distress and the perceived obligation to display socially desirable resilience behaviours to protect their child from their own distress.

Conclusions
Study findings highlight the benefits of strength-based interventions to enhance parental resilience. This is particularly important since parental behaviours have been shown to influence child pain outcomes. Future research should seek to explore resilience in different populations such as lone parents, siblings, and those parenting an adolescent with pain conditions other than CRPS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Early online date4 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • chronic pain
  • complex regional pain syndrome
  • dyads
  • parenting
  • resilience

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