Temperament and stress response in children with juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome

Authors


Abstract

Objective

To examine temperament, stress response, child psychological adjustment, family environment, pain sensitivity, and stress response differences between children and adolescents with juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFMS), children with arthritis, and healthy controls. Parental psychological adjustment was also measured.

Methods

Subjects included 16 children with JPFMS, 16 children with arthritis, and 16 healthy controls. Participants completed the Dimensions of Temperament Survey-Revised (DOTS-R), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Children's Depression Inventory, Family Environment Scale (FES), Sensitivity Temperament Inventory for Pain (STIP), and Youth Self-Report. Responsiveness to an acute stressor was assessed by measuring salivary cortisol levels before and after venipuncture. Parents were asked to complete the parent versions of the DOTS-R, FES, STIP, Child Behavior Checklist, and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised.

Results

Children and adolescents with JPFMS demonstrated more temperamental instability, increased levels of depression and anxiety, less family cohesion, and higher pain sensitivity compared with the other 2 groups. Parents of children with JPFMS, in rating themselves, also reported higher levels of anxiety and depression, and lower overall psychological adjustment compared with parents of children in the other groups.

Conclusion

These results suggest that a psychobiologic perspective may contribute to an increased understanding of JPFMS in children and adolescents, facilitating an approach to investigating the interaction of factors that appear to place a child at risk for development of a pain syndrome. Because temperamental instability, sensitivity to pain, vulnerability to stress, psychological adjustment, family context, and parental psychopathology are individual risk factors, the interaction of these factors may explain the breadth of symptoms associated with this pain syndrome, as well as its severity.

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