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Keywords:

  • Child externalizing symptoms;
  • child internalizing symptoms;
  • parental chronic pain

Topic

Chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) is a prevalent occurrence and is experienced by adults in their child-rearing years. Somatic or psychiatric illness in a parent constitutes a potential threat to the physical, mental health, and normative development in children.

Purpose

A comprehensive review of the literature was performed to answer the question: What are the effects of parental CNCP on children in the family system?

Sources Used

The search was performed using the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline, PsycINFO, and Academic Search Premier. Search terms used were “parent pain or parent chronic pain or parent illness or parent chronic illness” and “child or adolescent or teenager.” Inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed a priori. Eighteen articles (n = 18) met criteria and were included in the sample.

Conclusions

Three clusters were identified: (a) child/adolescent somatic complaints or behavior; (b) child/adolescent internalizing or externalizing symptoms; and (c) important mediating and moderating variables. The results of this review show that children and adolescents whose parents suffer from CNCP are at risk for more and similar-to-parent pain complaints and greater degree of internalizing and externalizing symptoms than those with healthy parents. Implications for clinical nursing practice and research are given.