Chronic Pain and Anxiety in Children: Physiological and Emotional Factors in Stress Responses
Jackson, Madeleine E.
College of Arts & ScienceThe current study examined physiological and emotional factors in stress responses of 21 children with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP), 21 children with anxiety disorders, and 21 gender- and age-matched healthy controls. Children's heart rates were monitored as they performed two psychological stress tasks and one physical stress task. Pain intensity and tolerance were measured during the cold pressor task. Parents and children completed questionnaires to assess children's psychological and somatic symptoms and responses to social stress. Findings indicate that children with RAP and anxious children report different levels of stress reactivity and provide different pain assessments of the cold pressor task. Findings also demonstrate a positive association between physiological stress reactivity and self-reported stress reactivity and psychological symptoms. Psychological and somatic symptoms were incrementally accounted for by physiological and self-reported stress reactivity.
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