Clinical Focus

  • Psychology
  • Pediatric Chronic Pain
  • Pediatric Pain Psychology
  • Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation

Honors & Awards

  • Early Career Award in Pediatric Pain, International Association for the Study of Pain (2017)
  • John C Liebeskind Early Career Scholar Award, American Pain Society (2013)
  • Donald K Routh Early Career Award, Society of Pediatric Psychology (2012)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Research Committee Chair, Pain Special Interest Group, Society of Pediatric Psychology (2017 - Present)
  • Progress Notes Newsletter Editor, Society of Pediatric Psychology (2013 - Present)
  • Member, International Association for Study of Pain (2010 - Present)
  • Member, American Pain Society (2008 - Present)
  • Member, Society of Pediatric Psychology, Division 54 of APA (2001 - Present)
  • Member, American Psychological Association (2000 - Present)

Professional Education

  • PhD, University of Georgia, Clinical Psychology (2006)
  • MS, University of Georgia, Clinical Psychology (2004)
  • Fellowship, Boston Children's Hospital, Child Pain Treatment & Assessment/Psychiatry (2008)
  • Internship, University of Florida Health Science Center, Child Clinical, Pediatric Psychology (2005)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

The primary goal of my research is to promote the health and well being of children and adolescents with chronic pain and their families. In line with this goal, research projects focus on biological, neurological, cognitive, affective, and social risk and resiliency factors of the pain experience. Projects include brain imaging, longitudinal clinical cohort, and treatment interventions studies.

Some current research orojects include:

Learning and Memory in Pediatric Chronic Pain
Funding: NIH/NICHD R01
Description: Investigating the mechanisms underlying fear learning, extinction and disruption of fear reconsolidation in adolescents with chronic pain and health controls using behavioral and neuroimaging measures. Multi-site study with Boston Children's Hospital (Collaborator: David Borsook, MD).

Children Pain Behaviors in Context: A functional-cognitive perspective
Leading Site: University of Ghent (Collaborator: Liesbet Goubert, PhD)
Description: Identifying key antecedents and consequences that give rise to and maintain children's pain-related behaviors and investigate impact these antecedents on children's behavior and functioning through daily surveys and activity monitoring.

Clinical Trials

  • GET Living: Graded Exposure Treatment for Children and Adolescents With Chronic Pain Not Recruiting

    The broad aim of this study is to implement and evaluate the efficacy of Graded Exposure Treatment (GET Living) to target elevated pain-related fears in children with chronic pain at the Stanford Pediatric Pain Management Clinic (PPMC). The investigators will evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of this intervention for children with high levels of pain-related fear and functional disability. If proven efficacious, it will allow for the dissemination of this innovative treatment model to others working with children and adolescents with chronic pain.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

    View full details


2018-19 Courses

Stanford Advisees


All Publications

  • Photographs of Daily Activities (PHODA)-Youth English: Validating a targeted assessment of worry and anticipated pain. Pain Simons, L., Pielech, M., McAvoy, S., Conroy, C., Hogan, M., Verbunt, J., Goossens, M. 2017


    PHODA is an electronic measure that individualizes and guides treatment for individuals with chronic pain. Implicit in its design is recognition that pain-related fear is a driving force that impedes treatment progress. With this tool, patients visually rate their expectations about the harmful consequences of specific movements. This study aimed to (1) develop and validate PHODA-Youth English (PHODA-YE) and (2) evaluate the potential impact of PHODA-YE assessment on treatment outcomes. Participants were 195 youth, age 8 to 20 years, who presented to an outpatient pain clinic for evaluation (n = 99), or enrolled at the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center (PPRC) intensive program (PPRC; n = 96). All patients completed the PHODA-YE along with measures of emotional functioning and disability. Patients in the PPRC completed the measure at both admission and discharge. After eliminating infrequently endorsed and poorly loading items, factor analytic procedures yielded a 4-subscale, 50-item measure with strong internal consistency (from 0.92 to 0.97 across subscales). Fear, avoidance, and functional disability were strongly associated with PHODA-YE scores, supporting construct validity. Within the PPRC sample, PHODA-YE was sensitive to changes over time in relation to functional improvements. Across the PPRC sample, patients found it helpful to complete the PHODA and target feared activities. Altogether, the PHODA-YE is a valid and concrete assessment tool that rapidly identifies specific activities and movements that elicit fearful responses from patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000855

    View details for PubMedID 28134656

  • Circles of engagement: Childhood pain and parent brain NEUROSCIENCE AND BIOBEHAVIORAL REVIEWS Simons, L. E., Goubert, L., Vervoort, T., Borsook, D. 2016; 68: 537-546


    Social interaction can have a profound effect on individual behavior, perhaps most salient in interactions between sick suffering children and their parents. Chronic pain is a difficult condition that can produce considerable changes in children's behaviors that can secondarily have profound effects on their parents. It may create a functionally disabling negative feedback loop. Research supports the notion of alterations in the brain of individuals who observe and empathize with loved ones in acute pain. However, neural activity in relation to empathic responses in the context of chronic pain has not been examined. Ongoing suffering with chronic pain in a child can result in child's brain circuit alterations. Moreover, prolonged suffering jointly experienced by the parent may putatively produce maladaptive changes in their neural networks and consequently in parental behaviors. Here we put forth the conceptual framework for 'Chronic pain contagion' (CPC). We review the underlying processes in CPC and discuss implications for devising and implementing treatments for children in chronic pain and their parents.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.020

    View details for Web of Science ID 000383293500036

    View details for PubMedID 27320958

  • Fear of pain in children and adolescents with neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome PAIN Simons, L. E. 2016; 157 (2): S90-S97


    A significant proportion of children and adolescents with chronic pain endorse elevated pain-related fear. Pain-related fear is associated with high levels of disability, depressive symptoms, and school impairment. Because of faulty nerve signaling, individuals with neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome may be more prone to develop pain-related fear as they avoid use of and neglect the affected body area(s), resulting in exacerbated symptoms, muscle atrophy, maintenance of pain signaling, and ongoing pain-related disability. Not surprisingly, effective treatments for elevated pain-related fears involve exposure to previously avoided activities to downregulate incorrect pain signaling. In the context of intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment of youth with neuropathic pain, decreasing pain-related fear is associated with improved physical and psychological functioning, whereas high initial pain-related fear is a risk factor for less treatment responsiveness. An innovative approach to targeting pain-related fear and evidence of a neural response to treatment involving decoupling of the amygdala with key fear circuits in youth with complex regional pain syndrome suggest breakthroughs in our ability to ameliorate these issues.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000377

    View details for Web of Science ID 000379971700014

    View details for PubMedID 26785161

  • Fear and Reward Circuit Alterations in Pediatric CRPS FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE Simons, L. E., Erpelding, N., Hernandez, J. M., Serrano, P., Zhang, K., LeBel, A. A., Sethna, N. F., Berde, C. B., Prabhu, S. P., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2016; 9
  • State of the art in biobehavioral approaches to the management of chronic pain in childhood. Pain management Simons, L. E., Basch, M. C. 2016; 6 (1): 49-61


    Chronic pain in childhood is prevalent, persistent and significantly impactful on most domains of life. The chronic pain experience occurs within a complex biopsychosocial framework, with particular emphasis on the social context. Currently, psychological treatments involve a cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment plan, providing some combination of psychoeducation, self-regulation training, maladaptive cognition identification, behavioral exposure and parent involvement. New treatment areas are emerging, such as group- and internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, comorbid obesity intervention and intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation. Preliminary studies of emerging treatments demonstrate encouraging results; however, treatment effectiveness hinges on accurate matching of patient to treatment modality. Overall, the current direction of the field promises many innovative breakthroughs to ameliorate suffering in youth with chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.2217/pmt.15.59

    View details for PubMedID 26678858

  • Pediatric Pain Screening Tool: rapid identification of risk in youth with pain complaints PAIN Simons, L. E., Smith, A., Ibagon, C., Coakley, R., Logan, D. E., Schechter, N., Borsook, D., Hill, J. C. 2015; 156 (8): 1511-1518


    Moderate to severe chronic pain is a problem for 1.7 million children, costing $19.5 billion dollars annually in the United States alone. Risk-stratified care is known to improve outcomes in adults with chronic pain. However, no tool exists to stratify youth who present with pain complaints to appropriate interventions. The Pediatric Pain Screening Tool (PPST) presented here assesses prognostic factors associated with adverse outcomes among youth and defines risk groups to inform efficient treatment decision making. Youth (n = 321, ages 8-18, 90.0% Caucasian, 74.8% female) presenting for multidisciplinary pain clinic evaluation at a tertiary care center participated. Of these, 195 (61.1%) participated at 4-month follow-up. Participants completed the 9-item PPST in addition to measures of functional disability, pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Sensitivity and specificity for the PPST ranged from adequate to excellent, with regard to significant disability (78%, 68%) and high emotional distress (81%, 63%). Participants were classified into low- (11%), medium- (32%), and high- (57%) risk groups. Risk groups did not significantly differ by pain diagnosis, location, or duration. Only 2% to 7% of patients who met reference standard case status for disability and emotional distress at 4-month follow-up were classified as low risk at baseline, whereas 71% to 79% of patients who met reference standard case status at follow-up were classified as high risk at baseline. A 9-item screening tool identifying factors associated with adverse outcomes among youth who present with pain complaints seems valid and provides risk stratification that can potentially guide effective pain treatment recommendations in the clinic setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000199

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358815500018

    View details for PubMedID 25906349

  • Living in fear of your child's pain: the parent fear of pain questionnaire PAIN Simons, L. E., Smith, A., Kaczynski, K., Basch, M. 2015; 156 (4): 694-702


    Fear and avoidance have been consistently associated with poor pain-related outcomes in children. In the context of the pediatric pain experience, parent distress and behaviors can be highly influential. This study validated the Parent Fear of Pain Questionnaire (PFOPQ) to assess a parent's fears and avoidance behaviors associated with their child's pain. Using the PFOPQ in conjunction with measures of parent and child pain-related variables, we tested the interpersonal fear-avoidance model (IFAM). The sample comprised 321 parents and their child with chronic or new-onset pain who presented to a multidisciplinary outpatient pain clinic. An exploratory factor analysis yielded a 4-factor structure for the PFOPQ consisting of Fear of Pain, Fear of Movement, Fear of School, and Avoidance. As hypothesized, Fear of Pain was most closely related to parent pain catastrophizing and child fear of pain, whereas Avoidance was most closely related to parent protective behaviors and child avoidance of activities. In testing the IFAM, parent behavior contributed directly and indirectly to child avoidance, whereas parent fear and catastrophizing contributed indirectly to child avoidance through parent behavior and child fear and catastrophizing, in turn, influencing child functional disability levels. This study provides the first measure of parent pain-related fears and avoidance behaviors and evaluates the theorized IFAM. These results underscore the important influence of parents on child pain-related outcomes and put forth a psychometrically sound measure to assess parent fear and avoidance in the context of their child's pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000100

    View details for Web of Science ID 000352330900016

    View details for PubMedID 25630026

  • Psychological processing in chronic pain: A neural systems approach NEUROSCIENCE AND BIOBEHAVIORAL REVIEWS Simons, L. E., Elman, I., Borsook, D. 2014; 39: 61-78


    Our understanding of chronic pain involves complex brain circuits that include sensory, emotional, cognitive and interoceptive processing. The feed-forward interactions between physical (e.g., trauma) and emotional pain and the consequences of altered psychological status on the expression of pain have made the evaluation and treatment of chronic pain a challenge in the clinic. By understanding the neural circuits involved in psychological processes, a mechanistic approach to the implementation of psychology-based treatments may be better understood. In this review we evaluate some of the principle processes that may be altered as a consequence of chronic pain in the context of localized and integrated neural networks. These changes are ongoing, vary in their magnitude, and their hierarchical manifestations, and may be temporally and sequentially altered by treatments, and all contribute to an overall pain phenotype. Furthermore, we link altered psychological processes to specific evidence-based treatments to put forth a model of pain neuroscience psychology.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.12.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000332752900004

    View details for PubMedID 24374383

  • The Fear of Pain Questionnaire (FOPQ): Assessment of Pain-Related Fear Among Children and Adolescents With Chronic Pain JOURNAL OF PAIN Simons, L. E., Sieberg, C. B., Carpino, E., Logan, D., Berde, C. 2011; 12 (6): 677-686


    An important construct in understanding pain-related disability is pain-related fear. Heightened pain-related fear may result in behavioral avoidance leading to disuse, disability, and depression; whereas confrontation of avoided activities may result in a reduction of fear over time and reengagement with activities of daily living. Although there are several measures to assess pain-related fear among adults with chronic pain, none exist for children and adolescents. The aim of the current study was to develop a new tool to assess avoidance and fear of pain with pediatric chronic pain patients: the Fear of Pain Questionnaire, child report (FOPQ-C), and Fear of Pain Questionnaire, parent proxy report (FOPQ-P). After initial pilot testing, the FOPQ-C and FOPQ-P were administered to 299 youth with chronic pain and their parents at an initial multidisciplinary pain treatment evaluation. The FOPQ demonstrated very strong internal consistency of .92 for the child and parent versions. One-month stability estimates were acceptable and suggested responsivity to change. For construct validity, the FOPQ correlated with generalized anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and somatization. Evidence of criterion-related validity was found with significant associations for the FOPQ with pain, healthcare utilization, and functional disability. These results support the FOPQ as a psychometrically sound measure.Pain-related fear plays an important role in relation to emotional distress and pain-related disability among children and adolescents with chronic pain. Identification of patients with high levels of fear avoidance of pain with the FOPQ will inform how to proceed with psychological and physical therapy interventions for chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2010.12.008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291959100007

    View details for PubMedID 21354866

  • Is Empathy for Pain Unique in Its Neural Correlates? A Meta-Analysis of Neuroimaging Studies of Empathy FRONTIERS IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE Timmers, I., Park, A. L., Fischer, M. D., Kronman, C. A., Heathcote, L. C., Hernandez, J., Simons, L. E. 2018; 12
  • Advancing shared decision making for symptom monitoring in people living beyond cancer LANCET ONCOLOGY Heathcote, L. C., Goldberg, D. S., Eccleston, C., Spunt, S. L., Simons, L. E., Sharpe, L., Earp, B. D. 2018; 19 (10): E556–E563


    Wellbeing after successful cancer treatment depends on more than merely reducing the risk of disease recurrence. Cancer survival can be characterised by uncertainty, fear, and the interpretation of bodily sensations as potentially symptomatic of cancer recurrence. This fear can lead to over-vigilance about bodily sensations and precautionary visits to the doctor, both of which can increase the chance of early detection but can also increase anxiety and decrease quality of life. In this Personal View, we consider the medical, psychological, and ethical issues related to the practice of self-directed symptom monitoring after completion of cancer treatment, focusing on the role of doctor-patient communication. We ask how clinicians can account for the plurality of values that patients might have when it comes to deciding on how to manage and respond to experiences of post-cancer symptoms. We advocate a shared decision-making approach that incorporates the assessment of an individual's cancer recurrence risks as well as psychosocial considerations regarding fear of cancer recurrence and mental health. We aim to raise awareness of the potential quality-of-life implications of symptom-monitoring practices, emphasising the need for a balance between physical and psychological health in people living beyond cancer.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000446052800029

    View details for PubMedID 30303128

  • Precipitating events in child and adolescent chronic musculoskeletal pain. Pain reports Becker, A. J., Heathcote, L. C., Timmers, I., Simons, L. E. 2018; 3 (Suppl 1): e665


    Introduction: The epidemiology of chronic pain in youth has been increasingly documented over the past decade. However, the precipitating events associated with the onset of pediatric chronic pain are not well studied.Objectives: Understanding the events that precede the onset of pain, and are reported by patients as germane to the early stages of their pain, may add one piece to the puzzle of the causal etiology of pediatric chronic pain disorders.Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of 320 young people attending a tertiary care chronic pain clinic with musculoskeletal chronic pain.Results: Approximately two-thirds of patients reported a precipitating event for their pain; injury was the most commonly reported event, followed by a chronic disease, then an infection or illness. Surgery was the least commonly reported event. About one-third of patients did not report any precipitating event for their pain. Patients with neuropathic pain were even more likely to report a precipitating event compared to those with localized and diffuse musculoskeletal pain. Patients with localized musculoskeletal pain and neuropathic pain were most likely to report an injury, whereas patients with diffuse musculoskeletal pain were most likely to report a chronic disease. We found little to no evidence that the presence or type of precipitating event was associated with patients' psychological or physical functioning.Conclusion: This study adds to the epidemiological evidence base for pediatric chronic pain disorders.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000665

    View details for PubMedID 30324167

  • Risk and Resilience in Pediatric Pain: The Roles of Parent and Adolescent Catastrophizing and Acceptance. The Clinical journal of pain Feinstein, A. B., Sturgeon, J. A., Bhandari, R. P., Yoon, I. A., Ross, A., Huestis, S., Griffin, A., Simons, L. 2018


    OBJECTIVES: Both pediatric and parent pain catastrophizing and pain acceptance are key factors associated with pediatric pain outcomes; however, the interactive effects of these factors within the parent-child dyad have yet to be tested. The aims of this study were to examine: (1) the mediating role of child catastrophizing between parent catastrophizing and child outcomes (pain interference and mobility), (2) the mediating role of child acceptance between parent acceptance and child outcomes, and (3) whether child acceptance buffers the relation between parent catastrophizing and child catastrophizing, which in turn impacts child outcomes.METHODS: Cross-sectional data from 324 youth with chronic pain ages 10 to 17 years (M age=14.72, (SD=2.12); 73.1% female; 59% Caucasian) and their parents were collected. Participants completed measures assessing pediatric PROMIS domains (mobility and pain interference), pain catastrophizing, pain acceptance, and child pain intensity. Mediation was conducted via 1000-draw bootstrap-adjusted analyses in Mplus.RESULTS: Parent pain catastrophizing was indirectly associated with child pain interference via child catastrophizing but was not associated with mobility difficulties in the mediation model. Parent pain acceptance was indirectly associated with both child pain interference and mobility via child acceptance. We did not find evidence of child acceptance buffering parent and child pain catastrophizing.DISCUSSION: The findings of this study highlight the need for caregiver involvement in multidisciplinary treatments to mitigate risk and enhance resilience in youth with chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000639

    View details for PubMedID 30028367

  • Parent Attributions of Ambiguous Symptoms in Their Children: A Preliminary Measure Validation in Parents of Children with Chronic Pain. Children (Basel, Switzerland) Heathcote, L. C., Williams, S. E., Smith, A. M., Sieberg, C. B., Simons, L. E. 2018; 5 (6)


    How parents attribute cause to their child’s physical symptoms is likely important in understanding how the parent responds to the child, as well as the child’s health outcomes, especially within the context of chronic illness. Here, we adapt the Symptom Interpretation Questionnaire for parent report (SIQ-PR) and provide preliminary validation in a sample of parents of children with chronic pain (N = 311). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the SIQ-PR structure is consistent with the original measure, with three distinct attribution types: psychological (emotional/affective), somatic (illness/disease), and environmental (situational/transient) causes. All three subscales demonstrated satisfactory to good internal consistency, and temporal stability. Parents typically endorsed more than one attribution for each symptom, indicating that parents of children with chronic pain have a multidimensional interpretation of physical symptoms in their children. Further, parent psychological and somatic attributions, but not environmental attributions, were significantly associated with (i) parent protective responses towards their child, and (ii) the child’s self-reported somatic and psychological symptoms, indicating convergent and divergent validity. The SIQ-PR may be a useful measure for future studies investigating intergenerational and interpersonal models of pediatric chronic pain, and more broadly, to examine parent attributions of children’s ambiguous symptoms within the context of childhood chronic illness.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/children5060076

    View details for PubMedID 29899299

  • Rapid Screening of Risk in Pediatric Headache: Application of the Pediatric Pain Screening Tool JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Heathcote, L. C., Rabner, J., Lebel, A., Hernandez, J. M., Simons, L. E. 2018; 43 (3): 243–51


    The current study examined the application of a screening tool to identify biopsychosocial risk factors and derive prognostic risk groups in children and adolescents with headache pain.Youth (n = 242, 8-17 years, 75.6% female) presenting for evaluation at a tertiary pediatric headache clinic completed the nine-item Pediatric Pain Screening Tool (PPST) as well as measures of functional disability, pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. In addition, 119 patients reported on functional disability at 2-month follow-up.The PPST demonstrated discriminant validity that ranged from fair to good for identifying significant disability and high emotional distress. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses indicated that established cutoff scores were appropriate for the current sample, and thus participants were classified into low-risk (21%), medium-risk (31%), and high-risk (48%) groups. Only 1-6% of patients who met reference standard case status for disability and emotional distress were classified as low risk, whereas 64-90% of patients who met reference standard case status were classified as high risk, suggesting robust stratification.The nine-item PPST may be a useful tool for efficiently identifying young patients with headache who are at risk of poor outcomes, and effectively classifying them into risk groups that could drive stratified treatment directly targeting patient needs.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx123

    View details for Web of Science ID 000429285300005

    View details for PubMedID 29048551

  • Assessment of Pain Anxiety, Pain Catastrophizing, and Fear of Pain in Children and Adolescents With Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Fisher, E., Heathcote, L. C., Eccleston, C., Simons, L. E., Palermo, T. M. 2018; 43 (3): 314–25


    To conduct a systematic review of pain anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and fear of pain measures psychometrically established in youth with chronic pain. The review addresses three specific aims: (1) to identify measures used in youth with chronic pain, summarizing their content, psychometric properties, and use; (2) to use evidence-based assessment criteria to rate each measure according to the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) guidelines; (3) to pool data across studies for meta-analysis of shared variance in psychometric performance in relation to the primary outcomes of pain intensity, disability, generalized anxiety, and depression.We searched Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and relevant literature for possible studies to include. We identified measures studied in youth with chronic pain that assessed pain anxiety, pain catastrophizing, or fear of pain and extracted the item-level content. Study and participant characteristics, and correlation data were extracted for summary and meta-analysis, and measures were rated using the SPP evidence-based assessment criteria.Fifty-four studies (84 papers) met the inclusion criteria, including seven relevant measures: one assessed pain anxiety, three pain catastrophizing, and three fear of pain. Overall, five measures were rated as "well established." We conducted meta-analyses on four measures with available data. We found significant positive correlations with the variables pain intensity, disability, generalized anxiety, and depression.Seven measures are available to assess pain anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and fear of pain in young people with chronic pain, and most are well established. We present implications for practice and directions for future research.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx103

    View details for Web of Science ID 000429285300012

    View details for PubMedID 29049813

  • Mental Health Screening of Medically-Admitted Patients With Cystic Fibrosis PSYCHOSOMATICS Garcia, G., Snell, C., Sawicki, G., Simons, L. E. 2018; 59 (2): 158–68


    Multi-national studies have identified an increased risk for depression and anxiety among the cystic fibrosis population. People with cystic fibrosis and depression have decreased lung function, adherence, and quality of life, and increased health care utilization. This is a pilot study of mental health screening and referral of patients with cystic fibrosis in a large tertiary medical center.Patients with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis aged 8 and older, medically admitted to a tertiary hospital, were screened for eligibility and offered mental health screening for depression and anxiety.Patients indicating elevated rates of anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation were offered a psychiatric consultation, and all participants were offered mental health referrals. Health-related outcomes were gathered via medical record review.The pediatric population showed elevated rates/at risk of depression (17%), anxiety (22%) and clinically-elevated depression (5%), and anxiety (11%). Twenty-two percent of the youth reported suicidal ideation. The adult population reported mild rates of depression (11%), anxiety (28%), and suicidality (11%). The mental health screening process resulted in 1 mental health referral, 16 patients eligible for psychiatric consultation, and 4 completed psychiatric consultations.This study represents a pilot mental health screening in the inpatient medical setting. The results indicate an elevated rate of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, and a protocol for responding to elevated responses via psychiatric consultation. This study indicates the need for further exploration of implementation of mental health screening, rapid response to suicidal ideation, referral process, and treatment interventions.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000427472800006

    View details for PubMedID 28985975

  • Social Risk and Resilience Factors in Adolescent Chronic Pain: Examining the Role of Parents and Peers. Journal of pediatric psychology Ross, A. C., Simons, L. E., Feinstein, A. B., Yoon, I. A., Bhandari, R. P. 2017


    The current study focuses on social risk and resilience in an adolescent population with chronic pain. Prior research identifies parental cognitions and behaviors as influential in youths' experiences of chronic pain and pain-related disability. Adolescent development is characterized by greater autonomy from parents and an increased emphasis on peer relationships. Study aims explore the potential protective effect of high-quality adolescent peer relationships on associations between parent and adolescent cognitive and behavioral responses to pain.238 adolescents with mixed-etiology chronic pain and their parents completed Pediatric Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (Peds-CHOIR) electronic questionnaires prior to their initial visit to a tertiary pediatric pain clinic. Variables in this study include parent catastrophizing, parent protective behavior, adolescent peer relationship quality, adolescent catastrophizing, adolescent functional impairment, and demographic and pain characteristics.As expected, associations between parent and adolescent cognitive and behavioral pain responses were moderated by peer relationship quality. Contrary to expectations, for adolescents endorsing low-quality peer relationships, maladaptive adolescent outcomes were elevated across levels of parental cognitions and behaviors. For adolescents endorsing high-quality peer relationships, adolescent and parent pain responses were linearly related.This study highlights the salience of both family and peer processes in functional outcomes among adolescents with chronic pain. Results suggest that adolescents' adaptive responses to chronic pain may be best supported by the simultaneous presence of adaptive parenting and high-quality peer relationships. Understanding the larger social context in which an adolescent exists is informative in specifying models that predict adaptive outcomes or magnify risks.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx118

    View details for PubMedID 29048554

  • Pain Neuroscience Education: State of the Art and Application in Pediatrics. Children (Basel, Switzerland) Robins, H., Perron, V., Heathcote, L. C., Simons, L. E. 2016; 3 (4)


    Chronic pain is a widespread problem in the field of pediatrics. Many interventions to ameliorate pain-related dysfunction have a biobehavioral focus. As treatments for chronic pain (e.g., increased movement) often stand in stark contrast to treatments for an acute injury (e.g., rest), providing a solid rationale for treatment is necessary to gain patient and parent buy-in. Most pain treatment interventions incorporate psychoeducation, or pain neuroscience education (PNE), as an essential component, and in some cases, as a stand-alone approach. The current topical review focuses on the state of pain neuroscience education and its application to pediatric chronic pain. As very little research has examined pain neuroscience education in pediatrics, we aim to describe this emerging area and catalyze further work on this important topic. As the present literature has generally focused on adults with chronic pain, pain neuroscience education merits further attention in the realm of pediatric pain in order to be tailored and implemented in this population.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/children3040043

    View details for PubMedID 28009822

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5184818

  • Predicting Postsurgical Satisfaction in Adolescents With Idiopathic Scoliosis: The Role of Presurgical Functioning and Expectations. Journal of pediatric orthopedics Sieberg, C. B., Manganella, J., Manalo, G., Simons, L. E., Hresko, M. T. 2016: -?


    There is a need to better assess patient satisfaction and surgical outcomes. The purpose of the current study is to identify how preoperative expectations can impact postsurgical satisfaction among youth with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis undergoing spinal fusion surgery.The present study includes patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis undergoing spinal fusion surgery enrolled in a prospective, multicentered registry examining postsurgical outcomes. The Scoliosis Research Society Questionnaire-Version 30, which assesses pain, self-image, mental health, and satisfaction with management, along with the Spinal Appearance Questionnaire, which measures surgical expectations was administered to 190 patients before surgery and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Regression analyses with bootstrapping (with n=5000 bootstrap samples) were conducted with 99% bias-corrected confidence intervals to examine the extent to which preoperative expectations for spinal appearance mediated the relationship between presurgical mental health and pain and 2-year postsurgical satisfaction.Results indicate that preoperative mental health, pain, and expectations are predictive of postsurgical satisfaction.With the shifting health care system, physicians may want to consider patient mental health, pain, and expectations before surgery to optimize satisfaction and ultimately improve clinical care and patient outcomes.Level I-prognostic study.

    View details for PubMedID 27379786

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5205555

  • The Longitudinal Impact of Parent Distress and Behavior on Functional Outcomes Among Youth With Chronic Pain JOURNAL OF PAIN Chow, E. T., Otis, J. D., Simons, L. E. 2016; 17 (6): 729-738


    Accumulating evidence supports the concurrent association between parent distress and behavior and child functioning in the context of chronic pain, with existing longitudinal studies limited to a pediatric surgical context that identify parent catastrophizing as influential. In this study, we examined how parent factors assessed at a multidisciplinary pediatric pain clinic evaluation affect child psychological and functional outcomes over time. A cohort of 195 patients with chronic pain (ages 8-17 years) and their parents who presented for a multidisciplinary evaluation completed measures at baseline and at 4-month follow-up. Patients completed measures of pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear and avoidance, generalized anxiety, depressive symptoms, and functional disability. Parents completed measures of pain catastrophizing, pain-related fear and avoidance, and protective responses to child pain. Parent-reported child school functioning was also collected. Parent distress and behavior was concurrently associated with child distress and functioning at evaluation. After controlling for baseline child functioning, baseline parent avoidance and protective behavior emerged as significant predictors of child functioning at 4-month follow-up. Parent distress and behavior influence child distress and functioning over time and these findings identify key parent domains to target in the context of a child's pain treatment.Parent behavior, specifically avoidance and protective responses, influence child distress and functioning over time. Child pain treatment interventions should include influential parent factors to ensure successful outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2016.02.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000377628000010

    View details for PubMedID 26993960

  • Rapid treatment-induced brain changes in pediatric CRPS BRAIN STRUCTURE & FUNCTION Erpelding, N., Simons, L., Lebel, A., Serrano, P., Pielech, M., Prabhu, S., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2016; 221 (2): 1095-1111


    To date, brain structure and function changes in children with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) as a result of disease and treatment remain unknown. Here, we investigated (a) gray matter (GM) differences between patients with CRPS and healthy controls and (b) GM and functional connectivity (FC) changes in patients following intensive interdisciplinary psychophysical pain treatment. Twenty-three patients (13 females, 9 males; average age ± SD = 13.3 ± 2.5 years) and 21 healthy sex- and age-matched controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Compared to controls, patients had reduced GM in the primary motor cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, midcingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, basal ganglia, thalamus, and hippocampus. Following treatment, patients had increased GM in the dlPFC, thalamus, basal ganglia, amygdala, and hippocampus, and enhanced FC between the dlPFC and the periaqueductal gray, two regions involved in descending pain modulation. Accordingly, our results provide novel evidence for GM abnormalities in sensory, motor, emotional, cognitive, and pain modulatory regions in children with CRPS. Furthermore, this is the first study to demonstrate rapid treatment-induced GM and FC changes in areas implicated in sensation, emotion, cognition, and pain modulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00429-014-0957-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000371380100022

    View details for PubMedID 25515312

  • Validation of a measure of children's perceptions of their oncology camp experience: a national study PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY Wu, Y. P., Hung, M., Franklin, J. D., Samhouri, M., Simons, L. E., Amylon, M. D. 2016; 25 (1): 112-114

    View details for DOI 10.1002/pon.3792

    View details for Web of Science ID 000368819100015

    View details for PubMedID 25736248

  • "Pain Can't Stop Me": Examining Pain Self-Efficacy and Acceptance as Resilience Processes Among Youth With Chronic Headache JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Kalapurakkel, S., Carpino, E. A., Lebel, A., Simons, L. E. 2015; 40 (9): 926-933


    To examine pain self-efficacy and pain acceptance in relation to functioning in pediatric patients with chronic headache.Participants were 209 youth aged 8-17 years who presented for a multidisciplinary pediatric headache clinic evaluation. They completed measures of pain self-efficacy and pain acceptance and a standard battery of clinical measures including indicators of emotional functioning.Pain self-efficacy and acceptance were associated with less disability, better school functioning, and fewer depressive symptoms. While taking into account several demographic and pain-related variables, pain self-efficacy had a greater association with less functional disability, while pain acceptance had a greater association with less depressive symptoms and better school functioning.These findings indicate that both resilience processes can serve to positively interact with functioning and symptoms of depression. Ultimately, this study suggests that higher levels of pain self-efficacy and pain acceptance in an individual experiencing pain are associated with more positive outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu091

    View details for Web of Science ID 000363215600010

    View details for PubMedID 25324532

  • Topical Review: Resilience Resources and Mechanisms in Pediatric Chronic Pain JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Cousins, L. A., Kalapurakkel, S., Cohen, L. L., Simons, L. E. 2015; 40 (9): 840-845


    To apply resilience theory and the extant literature to propose a resilience-risk model for pediatric chronic pain and provide an agenda for research and clinical practice in pediatric chronic pain resilience. Literature review to develop a resilience-risk model for pediatric chronic pain.The chronic pain literature has identified unique individual and social/environmental resilience resources and pain-related resilience mechanisms that promote pain adaptation. These data support our ecological resilience-risk model for pediatric chronic pain, and the model highlights novel directions for clinical and research efforts for youth with chronic pain.The examination of pediatric chronic pain from a strengths-based approach might lead to novel clinical avenues to empower youth to positively adapt and live beyond their pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsv037

    View details for Web of Science ID 000363215600002

    View details for PubMedID 25979085

  • Living Life With My Child's Pain The Parent Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (PPAQ) CLINICAL JOURNAL OF PAIN Smith, A. M., Sieberg, C. B., Odell, S., Randall, E., Simons, L. E. 2015; 31 (7): 633-641


    Parents' emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses are highly influential on children's pain and functional outcomes. One important response to pediatric pain is acceptance: the degree to which an individual participates in routine daily activities in the presence of pain and is willing to let pain be a part of their life without efforts to control or avoid it. However, no tool currently exists to assess parents' own acceptance of their child's pain. The aim of this study was to validate the Parent Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (PPAQ).The PPAQ was administered to 310 parents of youth with chronic pain in an outpatient pediatric headache program and a day hospital pain rehabilitation program. An exploratory factor analysis revealed 2 factors for the PPAQ: an 11-item Activity Engagement scale and a 4-item Acceptance of Pain-related Thoughts and Feelings scale.The PPAQ total score and subscales demonstrated strong internal consistency. Greater parent pain acceptance was positively associated with child pain acceptance, and was negatively correlated with parent protective behaviors, parent minimizing behaviors, parent and child pain catastrophizing, and child fear of pain. Parent protective behaviors and child pain acceptance both served as mediators of the relationship between parent pain acceptance and child functional disability.The PPAQ is a valid measure of parent pain acceptance and may provide valuable insights into parent responses to child pain and the ways in which parent acceptance influences child outcomes. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000140

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356588200005

    View details for PubMedID 25119514

  • Systematic Review on Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain Treatment of Children With Chronic Pain PEDIATRICS Hechler, T., Kanstrup, M., Holley, A. L., Simons, L. E., Wicksell, R., Hirschfeld, G., Zernikow, B. 2015; 136 (1): 115-127


    Pediatric debilitating chronic pain is a severe health problem, often requiring complex interventions such as intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment (IIPT). Research is lacking regarding the effectiveness of IIPT for children. The objective was to systematically review studies evaluating the effects of IIPT.Cochrane, Medline/Ovid, PsycInfo/OVID, PubMed, PubPsych, and Web of Science were searched. Studies were included if (1) treatment was coordinated by ≥3 health professionals, (2) treatment occurred within an inpatient/day hospital setting, (3) patients were <22 years, (4) patients experienced debilitating chronic pain, (5) the study was published in English, and (6) the study had ≥10 participants at posttreatment. The child's pain condition, characteristics of the IIPT, and 5 outcome domains (pain intensity, disability, school functioning, anxiety, depressive symptoms) were extracted at baseline, posttreatment, and follow-up.One randomized controlled trial and 9 nonrandomized treatment studies were identified and a meta-analysis was conducted separately on pain intensity, disability, and depressive symptoms revealing positive treatment effects. At posttreatment, there were large improvements for disability, and small to moderate improvements for pain intensity and depressive symptoms. The positive effects were maintained at short-term follow-up. Findings demonstrated extreme heterogeneity.Effects in nonrandomized treatment studies cannot be attributed to IIPT alone. Because of substantial heterogeneity in measures for school functioning and anxiety, meta-analyses could not be computed. There is preliminary evidence for positive treatment effects of IIPT, but the small number of studies and their methodological weaknesses suggest a need for more research on IIPTs for children.

    View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2014-3319

    View details for Web of Science ID 000357296000054

    View details for PubMedID 26101358

  • Longitudinal stability of medication adherence among adolescent solid organ transplant recipients PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Loiselle, K. A., Gutierrez-Colina, A. M., Eaton, C. K., Simons, L. E., Devine, K. A., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2015; 19 (4): 428-435


    Solid organ transplantation requires ongoing adherence to immunosuppressants and other medications. Although adolescence is a risk factor for poor medication-taking, little is known about the patterns of adherence within individuals over time. This study aimed to examine the stability of adherence over time using three different assessment techniques. Sixty-six AYA transplant recipients and/or their caregiver completed interviews of adherence at baseline and at least one yr later. Serum immunosuppressant assay levels were collected via medical chart review. Non-adherence percentages based on AYA report, caregiver report, and bioassay did not differ from Time 1 to Time 2. However, correlations for these measures across time were non-significant. Further, the majority of AYAs shifted to a different adherence category from Time 1 to Time 2. Overall, these results demonstrate individual variability in non-adherence over the course of adolescence and young adulthood and highlight the importance of frequent assessment across time for solid organ transplant recipients.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/petr.12480

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354182500023

    View details for PubMedID 25879392

  • Clinical Cutoffs for Adherence Barriers in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients: How Many Is Too Many? JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Eaton, C. K., Lee, J. L., Simons, L. E., Devine, K. A., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2015; 40 (4): 431-441


    The current study used multiple statistical methods to determine empirically derived and clinically relevant cutoff scores on the Adolescent Medication Barriers Scale (AMBS) and Parent Medication Barriers Scale (PMBS) to detect adolescents and young adults with solid organ transplants who experienced medication nonadherence or negative medical outcomes.Participants included 71 patients and 80 caregivers. Cutoff scores were determined via receiver operating characteristic curve analyses, t-test analyses, and the sensitivity and specificity of using certain cutoff scores.AMBS scores of ≥3 barriers and PMBS scores of ≥2 barriers were determined as the ideal cutoffs for identifying patients meeting criteria for the outcome variables.Clinicians should consider using these recommended cutoff scores when assessing adherence barriers in adolescents and young adults with solid organ transplants and their families. Patients or caregivers endorsing barriers above the cutoffs may benefit from further assessment or intervention to address barriers, nonadherence, or related medical issues.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu102

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354702900007

    View details for PubMedID 25418331

  • Anxiety sensitivity and fear of pain in paediatric headache patients EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PAIN Cappucci, S., Simons, L. E. 2015; 19 (2): 246-252


    Recent research suggests that anxiety sensitivity (AS) may be a critical factor in the maintenance of chronic pain. Converging lines of evidence also propose a relationship between AS and fear of pain (FOP) that may result from interoceptive fear conditioning in interoceptively biased individuals. While some AS and FOP research has been carried out in adults, literature exploring this relationship is sparse in clinical paediatric populations.This study investigated the hypotheses that FOP mediates the relationships between AS and disability as well as AS and somatization in children and adolescents with chronic headache pain. Mediation models were investigated using bootstrap regression analyses.Results indicate that the AS-disability relationship is mediated by FOP, whereas AS seems to contribute both directly and indirectly to somatization.These results provide evidence for the pivotal role of AS in the paediatric chronic pain model. The findings of this study further emphasize the application of the fear-avoidance model in children and provide new evidence for the critical role of AS in a paediatric headache population.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ejp.542

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348567300013

    View details for PubMedID 24925092

  • Fear and Reward Circuit Alterations in Pediatric CRPS. Frontiers in human neuroscience Simons, L. E., Erpelding, N., Hernandez, J. M., Serrano, P., Zhang, K., LeBel, A. A., Sethna, N. F., Berde, C. B., Prabhu, S. P., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2015; 9: 703-?


    In chronic pain, a number of brain regions involved in emotion (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, insula, anterior cingulate, and prefrontal cortex) show significant functional and morphometric changes. One phenotypic manifestation of these changes is pain-related fear (PRF). PRF is associated with profoundly altered behavioral adaptations to chronic pain. For example, patients with a neuropathic pain condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) often avoid use of and may even neglect the affected body area(s), thus maintaining and likely enhancing PRF. These changes form part of an overall maladaptation to chronic pain. To examine fear-related brain circuit alterations in humans, 20 pediatric patients with CRPS and 20 sex- and age-matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in response to a well-established fearful faces paradigm. Despite no significant differences on self-reported emotional valence and arousal between the two groups, CRPS patients displayed a diminished response to fearful faces in regions associated with emotional processing compared to healthy controls. Additionally, increased PRF levels were associated with decreased activity in a number of brain regions including the right amygdala, insula, putamen, and caudate. Blunted activation in patients suggests that (a) individuals with chronic pain may have deficits in cognitive-affective brain circuits that may represent an underlying vulnerability or consequence to the chronic pain state; and (b) fear of pain may contribute and/or maintain these brain alterations. Our results shed new light on altered affective circuits in patients with chronic pain and identify PRF as a potentially important treatment target.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00703

    View details for PubMedID 26834606

  • Fear of pain in pediatric headache CEPHALALGIA Simons, L. E., Pielech, M., Cappucci, S., Lebel, A. 2015; 35 (1): 36-44


    The current study provides the first measure of pain-related fear for pediatric headache patients.From a large pediatric headache clinic, a cross-sectional cohort of 206 children and adolescents completed measures of pain-related fear, anxiety sensitivity, catastrophizing, pain acceptance, functional disability, and school functioning.The two-factor solution of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire (FOPQ) was confirmed from the originally derived structure with pediatric headache patients. Simultaneously regressing FOPQ subscales fear of pain and activity avoidance on theorized construct validity measures demonstrated that fear of pain was more closely linked with anxiety sensitivity and pain catastrophizing while activity avoidance had a strong negative association with pain acceptance (activity engagement and pain willingness). Pain-related fear was not significantly associated with pain level. After controlling for demographic factors and pain, fear of pain and activity avoidance accounted for an additional 26% of the variance in functional disability and school functioning outcomes, with activity avoidance accounting for much of this relationship.Although typically considered an influential construct among musculoskeletal patients, pain-related fear is also an important factor influencing functioning among pediatric headache patients, with the dimension of activity avoidance particularly salient.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0333102414534084

    View details for Web of Science ID 000346208200004

    View details for PubMedID 24812036

  • Perspectives on the clinical significance of functional pain syndromes in children JOURNAL OF PAIN RESEARCH Basch, M. C., Chow, E. T., Logan, D. E., Schechter, N. L., Simons, L. E. 2015; 8: 675-686


    Functional pain syndromes (FPS) characterize a subset of individuals who experience pain and related symptoms and disability without clear structural or disease etiology. In the pediatric population, FPS hold high clinical importance due to significant prevalence rates and potential to persist into adulthood. Although extensive research has been executed to disambiguate FPS, the syndromes that fall within its spectrum remain conceptually complex and sometimes ill-defined. This paper provides an overview of available research on the classification and multifaceted etiology of FPS in youth and their effects on interpersonal, psychological, and familial function. Vital aspects of a successful multidisciplinary approach to treating this population are described; however, it is evident that future research requires more longitudinal studies.

    View details for DOI 10.2147/JPR.S55586

    View details for Web of Science ID 000364721900001

    View details for PubMedID 26504406

  • Pain catastrophizing in children with chronic pain and their parents: proposed clinical reference points and reexamination of the Pain Catastrophizing Scale measure. Pain Pielech, M., Ryan, M., Logan, D., Kaczynski, K., White, M. T., Simons, L. E. 2014; 155 (11): 2360-2367


    The current study aimed to validate the child and parent pain catastrophizing scale in a large chronic pain sample and to identify child pain catastrophizing clinical reference points. Patients and parents (n=697) evaluated at a pediatric pain program completed the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, child (PCS-C) and parent (PCS-P) reports, along with additional measures of psychological functioning. The measure's psychometric properties were examined, as were relations across demographic, pain, and psychological characteristics and pain catastrophizing. Clinical reference points were identified for the PCS-C from differences in pain catastrophizing across levels of disability, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Overall, we did not find support for the hypothesized 3-dimension structure, and we recommend potentially removing items 7 and 8 for both the PCS-P and PCS-C as a result of floor/ceiling effects. The 11-item PCS-C is most parsimonious as a unitary construct, while the 11-item PCS-P comprises 2 factors. Although parent catastrophizing was significantly associated with child outcomes after controlling for pain level, it was no longer significant when accounting for child catastrophizing. When comparing PCS-C scores based on child outcomes, significant differences emerged for low, moderate, and high catastrophizing levels. It appears that the influence of parent catastrophizing on outcomes can be explained through its impact on child catastrophizing levels. PCS-C reference points derived from this large sample can aid clinicians in assessment and treatment planning, in turn increasing the utility of the PCS-C for both clinical and research purposes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2014.08.035

    View details for PubMedID 25180013

  • Pain catastrophizing in children with chronic pain and their parents: Proposed clinical reference points and reexamination of the PCS measure PAIN Pielech, M., Ryan, M., Logan, D., Kaczynski, K., White, M. T., Simons, L. E. 2014; 155 (11): 2360-2367
  • The responsive amygdala: Treatment-induced alterations in functional connectivity in pediatric complex regional pain syndrome PAIN Simons, L. E., PIELECH, M., Erpelding, N., Linnman, C., Moulton, E., Sava, S., Lebel, A., Serrano, P., Sethna, N., Berde, C., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2014; 155 (9): 1727-1742


    The amygdala is a key brain region with efferent and afferent neural connections that involve complex behaviors such as pain, reward, fear, and anxiety. This study evaluated resting state functional connectivity of the amygdala with cortical and subcortical regions in a group of chronic pain patients (pediatric complex regional pain syndrome) with age-sex matched control subjects before and after intensive physical-biobehavioral pain treatment. Our main findings include (1) enhanced functional connectivity from the amygdala to multiple cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar regions in patients compared with control subjects, with differences predominantly in the left amygdala in the pretreated condition (disease state); (2) dampened hyperconnectivity from the left amygdala to the motor cortex, parietal lobe, and cingulate cortex after intensive pain rehabilitation treatment within patients with nominal differences observed among healthy control subjects from time 1 to time 2 (treatment effects); (3) functional connectivity to several regions key to fear circuitry (prefrontal cortex, bilateral middle temporal lobe, bilateral cingulate, hippocampus) correlated with higher pain-related fear scores; and (4) decreases in pain-related fear associated with decreased connectivity between the amygdala and the motor and somatosensory cortex, cingulate, and frontal areas. Our data suggest that there are rapid changes in amygdala connectivity after an aggressive treatment program in children with chronic pain and intrinsic amygdala functional connectivity activity serving as a potential indicator of treatment response.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2014.05.023

    View details for Web of Science ID 000341873000009

    View details for PubMedID 24861582

  • Longitudinal Stability of Specific Barriers to Medication Adherence JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Lee, J. L., Eaton, C., Gutierrez-Colina, A. M., Devine, K., Simons, L. E., Mee, L., Blount, R. L. 2014; 39 (7): 667-676


    Higher levels of barriers are related to lower medication adherence and negative medical outcomes in pediatric transplant recipients. Although total number of barriers appears to be stable over time, it is unclear whether the same is true for specific barriers. This study examined the frequency of endorsement and the stability of specific barriers over 18 months.Participants included 63 parents and 51 adolescents and young adults. Transplant types included 39 kidneys, 16 livers, 10 hearts, and 1 double lung. Participants completed measures of perceived barriers to adherence at Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2).The majority of parent- and adolescent-reported specific barriers showed a positive relationship from T1 to T2. Few specific barriers showed significant differences in the level of endorsement between time points.Specific barriers to medication adherence tend to be stable over time. Patients' specific barriers appear unlikely to change without targeted intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu026

    View details for Web of Science ID 000339919200001

    View details for PubMedID 24824613

  • The Interplay of Pain-Related Self-Efficacy and Fear on Functional Outcomes Among Youth With Headache JOURNAL OF PAIN Carpino, E., Segal, S., Logan, D., Lebel, A., Simons, L. E. 2014; 15 (5): 527-534


    Pain-related self-efficacy and pain-related fear have been proposed as opposing predictors of pain-related functional outcomes in youth with chronic pain. Self-efficacy is a potential resiliency factor that can mitigate the influence that pain-related fear has on outcomes in youth with chronic pain. Drawing from theoretical assertions tested among adults with chronic pain, this study aimed to determine whether pain-related self-efficacy mediates the adverse influence of pain-related fear on functional outcomes in a sample of youth with chronic headache. In a cross-sectional design of 199 youth with headache, self-efficacy was strongly associated with fear, disability, school impairment, and depressive symptoms. Pain intensity and self-efficacy were only modestly related, indicating that level of pain has less influence on one's confidence functioning with pain. Self-efficacy partially mediated relationships between pain-related fear and both functional disability and school functioning but did not mediate the relationship between pain-related fear and depressive symptoms. These results suggest that confidence in the ability to function despite pain and fear avoidance each uniquely contributes to pain-related outcomes in youth with chronic headache. These results further suggest that treatment for chronic headache in youth must focus not only on decreasing pain-related fear but also on enhancing a patient's pain-related self-efficacy.Pain-related self-efficacy is an important resiliency factor impacting the influence of pain-related fear on functional disability and school functioning in youth with headache. Enhancing self-efficacy may be a key mechanism for improving behavioral outcomes. Clinicians can reduce pain-related fear and enhance pain-related self-efficacy through interventions that encourage accomplishment and self-confidence.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2014.01.493

    View details for Web of Science ID 000335711700008

    View details for PubMedID 24462790

  • The Human Amygdala and Pain: Evidence From Neuroimaging HUMAN BRAIN MAPPING Simons, L. E., Moulton, E. A., Linnman, C., Carpino, E., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2014; 35 (2): 527-538


    The amygdala, a small deep brain structure involved in behavioral processing through interactions with other brain regions, has garnered increased attention in recent years in relation to pain processing. As pain is a multidimensional experience that encompasses physical sensation, affect, and cognition, the amygdala is well suited to play a part in this process. Multiple neuroimaging studies of pain in humans have reported activation in the amygdala. Here, we summarize these studies by performing a coordinate-based meta-analysis within experimentally induced and clinical pain studies using an activation likelihood estimate analysis. The results are presented in relation to locations of peak activation within and outside of amygdala subregions. The majority of studies identified coordinates consistent with human amygdala cytoarchitecture indicating reproducibility in neuroanatomical labeling across labs, analysis methods, and imaging modalities. Differences were noted between healthy and clinical pain studies: in clinical pain studies, peak activation was located in the laterobasal region, suggestive of the cognitive-affective overlay present among individuals suffering from chronic pain; while the less understood superficial region of the amygdala was prominent among experimental pain studies. Taken together, these findings suggest several important directions for further research exploring the amygdala's role in pain processing.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/hbm.22199

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329532400017

    View details for PubMedID 23097300

  • Intrinsic brain networks normalize with treatment in pediatric complex regional pain syndrome NEUROIMAGE-CLINICAL Becerra, L., Sava, S., Simons, L. E., Drosos, A. M., Sethna, N., Berde, C., LeBel, A. A., Borsook, D. 2014; 6: 347-369


    Pediatric complex regional pain syndrome (P-CRPS) offers a unique model of chronic neuropathic pain as it either resolves spontaneously or through therapeutic interventions in most patients. Here we evaluated brain changes in well-characterized children and adolescents with P-CRPS by measuring resting state networks before and following a brief (median = 3 weeks) but intensive physical and psychological treatment program, and compared them to matched healthy controls. Differences in intrinsic brain networks were observed in P-CRPS compared to controls before treatment (disease state) with the most prominent differences in the fronto-parietal, salience, default mode, central executive, and sensorimotor networks. Following treatment, behavioral measures demonstrated a reduction of symptoms and improvement of physical state (pain levels and motor functioning). Correlation of network connectivities with spontaneous pain measures pre- and post-treatment indicated concomitant reductions in connectivity in salience, central executive, default mode and sensorimotor networks (treatment effects). These results suggest a rapid alteration in global brain networks with treatment and provide a venue to assess brain changes in CRPS pre- and post-treatment, and to evaluate therapeutic effects.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nicl.2014.07.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349668500040

    View details for PubMedID 25379449

  • Habenula functional resting-state connectivity in pediatric CRPS JOURNAL OF NEUROPHYSIOLOGY Erpelding, N., Sava, S., Simons, L. E., Lebel, A., Serrano, P., Becerra, L., Borsook, D. 2014; 111 (2): 239-247


    The habenula (Hb) is a small brain structure located in the posterior end of the medial dorsal thalamus and through medial (MHb) and lateral (LHb) Hb connections, it acts as a conduit of information between forebrain and brainstem structures. The role of the Hb in pain processing is well documented in animals and recently also in acute experimental pain in humans. However, its function remains unknown in chronic pain disorders. Here, we investigated Hb resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) compared with healthy controls. Twelve pediatric patients with unilateral lower-extremity CRPS (9 females; 10-17 yr) and 12 age- and sex-matched healthy controls provided informed consent to participate in the study. In healthy controls, Hb functional connections largely overlapped with previously described anatomical connections in cortical, subcortical, and brainstem structures. Compared with controls, patients exhibited an overall Hb rsFC reduction with the rest of the brain and, specifically, with the anterior midcingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor cortex, primary motor cortex, and premotor cortex. Our results suggest that Hb rsFC parallels anatomical Hb connections in the healthy state and that overall Hb rsFC is reduced in patients, particularly connections with forebrain areas. Patients' decreased Hb rsFC to brain regions implicated in motor, affective, cognitive, and pain inhibitory/modulatory processes may contribute to their symptomatology.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/jn.00405.2013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329922600002

    View details for PubMedID 24155006

  • Pain Prevalence and Trajectories Following Pediatric Spinal Fusion Surgery JOURNAL OF PAIN Sieberg, C. B., Simons, L. E., Edelstein, M. R., Deangelis, M. R., Pielech, M., Sethna, N., Hresko, M. T. 2013; 14 (12): 1694-1702


    Factors contributing to pain following surgery are poorly understood, with previous research largely focused on adults. With approximately 6 million children undergoing surgery each year, there is a need to study pediatric persistent postsurgical pain. The present study includes patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis undergoing spinal fusion surgery enrolled in a prospective, multicentered registry examining postsurgical outcomes. The Scoliosis Research Society Questionnaire-Version 30, which includes pain, activity, mental health, and self-image subscales, was administered to 190 patients prior to surgery and at 1 and 2 years postsurgery. A subset (n = 77) completed 5-year postsurgery data. Pain prevalence at each time point and longitudinal trajectories of pain outcomes derived from SAS PROC TRAJ were examined using analyses of variance and post hoc pairwise analyses across groups. Thirty-five percent of patients reported pain in the moderate to severe range presurgery. One year postoperation, 11% reported pain in this range, whereas 15% reported pain at 2 years postsurgery. At 5 years postsurgery, 15% of patients reported pain in the moderate to severe range. Among the 5 empirically derived pain trajectories, there were significant differences on self-image, mental health, and age. Identifying predictors of poor long-term outcomes in children with postsurgical pain may prevent the development of chronic pain into adulthood.This investigation explores the prevalence of pediatric pain following surgery, up to 5 years after spinal fusion surgery. Five pain trajectories were identified and were distinguishable on presurgical characteristics of age, mental health, and self-image. This is the largest study to examine longitudinal pediatric pain trajectories after surgery.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2013.09.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000328519800016

    View details for PubMedID 24290449

  • Connecting parents of children with chronic pain through art therapy. Clinical practice in pediatric psychology Pielech, M., Sieberg, C. B., Simons, L. E. 2013; 1 (3): 214-226


    To help address the unique needs of parents of children with chronic pain, a four module, parent-only, group art therapy curriculum was designed and implemented within an interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation treatment program. We evaluated perceived satisfaction and helpfulness of the group intervention.Fifty-three parents of children experiencing chronic pain enrolled in a day hospital interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation program participated. The voluntary parent art therapy group was offered one time per week for one hour. Participants completed a measure of satisfaction, helpfulness, and perceived social support at the end of each group session.Parents enjoyed participating in the group, agreed that they would try art therapy again, and found it to be a helpful, supportive, and validating experience.Initial results are promising that group art therapy is an appropriate and helpful means of supporting parents of children with chronic pain during interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation.

    View details for PubMedID 24563827

  • Health-Related Quality of Life and Perceived Need for Mental Health Services in Adolescent Solid Organ Transplant Recipients JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY IN MEDICAL SETTINGS Reed-Knight, B., Loiselle, K. A., Devine, K. A., Simons, L. E., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2013; 20 (1): 88-96


    The purpose of the current investigation was to assess interest in mental health services among parents of adolescent solid organ transplant recipients and the relationship between parent perceived need for mental health services and patient health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Sixty-three parents rated interest in receiving 10 mental health services, and patient HRQOL ratings were gathered from adolescent transplant recipients and their parents. Ninety-four percent of parents expressed some level of interest in at least one of the proposed services, with over 40 % indicating maximum interest. Parents' perceived need for mental health services was inversely related to adolescent and parent reports of HRQOL on the behavior, mental health, family cohesion, and parental impact-emotional domains. Results suggest that parents of adolescent solid organ transplant recipients are interested in receiving mental health services for their families. Assessment of need for mental health services and HRQOL may inform the medical team of families requiring intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10880-012-9303-6

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316228500011

    View details for PubMedID 22581075

  • What Does It Take? Comparing Intensive Rehabilitation to Outpatient Treatment for Children With Significant Pain-Related Disability JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Simons, L. E., Sieberg, C. B., Pielech, M., Conroy, C., Logan, D. E. 2013; 38 (2): 213-223


    This study compared outcomes between day hospital pain rehabilitation patients and patients engaged in outpatient multidisciplinary pain treatment.This study included 100 children who presented for an initial tertiary care pain clinic evaluation. 50 patients enrolled in intensive day hospital pain rehabilitation and 50 patients pursued outpatient multidisciplinary treatment. Across 2 time points, children completed measures of functional disability, pain-related fear, and readiness to change and parents completed measures of pain-related fear and readiness to change.Across both treatment modalities, patients and parents reported improvements. Patients enrolled in intensive pain rehabilitation had significantly larger improvements in functional disability, pain-related fear, and readiness to change. Parents of day hospital patients reported larger declines in child pain-related fear and increased readiness to change compared with their outpatient counterparts. Discussion For patients with high levels of pain-related disability and distress, intensive pain rehabilitation provides rapid, dramatic improvements in functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jss109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315417800011

    View details for PubMedID 23104827

  • Patients with pain are not all the same: considering fear of pain and other individual factors in treatment. Pain management Simons, L. E., Sieberg, C. B., Coakley, R. M. 2013; 3 (2): 87-89

    View details for DOI 10.2217/pmt.12.85

    View details for PubMedID 24645990

  • Growing Up in the Society of Pediatric Psychology: Reflections of an Early Career Psychologist JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Simons, L. E. 2013; 38 (2): 132-134

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jss121

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315417800003

    View details for PubMedID 23241351

  • Fear of Pain in the Context of Intensive Pain Rehabilitation Among Children and Adolescents With Neuropathic Pain: Associations With Treatment Response JOURNAL OF PAIN Simons, L. E., Kaczynski, K. J., Conroy, C., Logan, D. E. 2012; 13 (12): 1151-1161


    Recent research has implicated pain-related fear in relation to functional outcomes in children with chronic pain. The current study examined fear of pain, disability, and depression within the context of an intensive pain rehabilitation program. One hundred forty-five children and adolescents who participated in an intensive interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation day program were assessed in this study. Patients completed measures of pain intensity, pain-related fears, functional disability, and depressive symptoms at admission, discharge, and on average, 2 months postdischarge. After controlling for pain intensity, pain-related fear was significantly related to disability and depressive symptoms at all time points. As predicted, a decline in pain-related fear was significantly associated with a decrease in disability and depressive symptoms. Interestingly, high levels of pain-related fears at admission predicted less reduction in functional disability and depression at discharge, suggesting that high levels of pain-related fear may be a risk factor in relation to treatment outcomes. Overall, results indicate that the relationship between fear of pain and changes in disability and depressive symptoms are closely linked, with fear of pain playing an important role in treatment.This paper presents results underscoring the importance of pain-related fear in relation to treatment response for children and adolescents with chronic pain. These findings support the need to develop and implement interventions that target reductions in pain-related fear.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2012.08.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312280200002

    View details for PubMedID 23085089

  • A Day-hospital Approach to Treatment of Pediatric Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Initial Functional Outcomes CLINICAL JOURNAL OF PAIN Logan, D. E., Carpino, E. A., Chiang, G., Condon, M., Firn, E., Gaughan, V. J., Hogan, M., Leslie, D. S., Olson, K., Sager, S., Sethna, N., Simons, L. E., Zurakowski, D., Berde, C. B. 2012; 28 (9): 766-774


    To examine clinical outcomes of an interdisciplinary day-hospital treatment program (comprised of physical, occupational, and cognitive-behavioral therapies with medical and nursing services) for pediatric complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).The study is a longitudinal case series of consecutive patients treated in a day-hospital pediatric pain rehabilitation program. Participants were 56 children and adolescents with ages 8 to 18 years (median=14 y) with CRPS spectrum conditions who failed to progress sufficiently with a previous outpatient and/or inpatient treatments. Patients participated in daily physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological treatment and received nursing and medical care as necessary. The model places equal emphasis on physical and cognitive-behavioral approaches to pain management. Median duration of stay was 3 weeks. Outcome measures included assessments of physical, occupational, and psychological functioning at program admission, discharge, and at posttreatment follow-up at a median of 10 months after discharge. Scores at discharge and follow-up were compared with measures on admission by Wilcoxon tests, paired t tests, or analysis of variance as appropriate, with corrections for multiple comparisons.Outcomes demonstrate clinically and statistically significant improvements from admission to discharge in pain intensity (P<0.001), functional disability (P<0.001), subjective report of limb function (P<0.001), timed running (P<0.001), occupational performance (P<0.001), medication use (P<0.01), use of assistive devices (P<0.001), and emotional functioning (anxiety, P<0.001; depression, P<0.01). Functional gains were maintained or further improved at follow-up.A day-hospital interdisciplinary rehabilitation approach seems effective in reducing disability and improving physical and emotional functioning and occupational performance among children and adolescents with CRPSs that have failed to improve with outpatient treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3182457619

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309658500003

    View details for PubMedID 22688602

  • The Fear Avoidance Model of Chronic Pain: Examination for Pediatric Application JOURNAL OF PAIN Simons, L. E., Kaczynski, K. J. 2012; 13 (9): 827-835


    The current study examined the Fear Avoidance (FA) model of chronic pain in pediatric chronic pain patients. Multiple structural equation models were tested in the current study with pairwise parameter comparisons made between younger children (8-12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years). Within a sample of 350 children and adolescents, we examined functional disability and depressive symptoms in separate models with the following predictor variables-pain, pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, and avoidance of activities-after controlling for duration of pain. For a subset of patients (n = 151), we also tested a brief prospective outcome model with baseline predictor variables and functional disability at 1-month follow-up. The FA models predicting functional disability concurrently and prospectively were an excellent fit to the data. The theorized FA model for depression was a poor fit. When the model was modified to include direct pathways from the cognitive processes of pain catastrophizing and fear of pain to depressive symptoms, the model fit was significantly improved. In the examination of developmental differences between younger children and adolescent patients, duration of pain contributed to the model for younger children, whereas pain-related fears were more influential for adolescent patients.The FA model of chronic pain appears to be applicable for pediatric patients with some modification to account for developmental differences across childhood. We discuss the developmental, theoretical, and clinical implications of these results.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2012.05.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309034400002

    View details for PubMedID 22832693

  • Changes in willingness to self-manage pain among children and adolescents and their parents enrolled in an intensive interdisciplinary pediatric pain treatment program PAIN Logan, D. E., Conroy, C., Sieberg, C. B., Simons, L. E. 2012; 153 (9): 1863-1870


    The importance of willingness to adopt a self-management approach to chronic pain has been demonstrated in the context of cognitive-behaviorally oriented interdisciplinary pain treatment programs for adults, both as a treatment outcome and as a process that facilitates functional improvements. Willingness to self-manage pain has not been studied in pediatric interdisciplinary pain treatment settings. Study aims were (1) to investigate willingness to self-manage pain among children and parents undergoing intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment and (2) to determine whether increased willingness to self-manage pain influenced functional treatment outcomes. A total of 157 children ages 10 to 18 and their parents enrolled in a pediatric pain rehabilitation program completed the Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ youth and parent versions) at pretreatment, posttreatment, and short-term follow-up. They also reported on pain, functional disability, depressive symptoms, fear of pain, and use of passive and accommodative coping strategies. Results show that willingness to self-manage pain increased during treatment among both children and parents, with gains maintained at follow-up. Increases in children's readiness to self-manage pain from pretreatment to posttreatment were associated with decreases in functional disability, depressive symptoms, fear of pain, and use of adaptive coping strategies. Increases in parents' readiness to adopt a pain self-management approach were associated with changes in parent-reported fear of pain but not with other child outcomes. Few associations emerged between pretreatment willingness to self-manage pain and posttreatment outcomes. Findings suggest that interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation may facilitate increased willingness to self-manage pain, which is associated with improvements in function and psychological well-being.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2012.05.027

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307299500016

    View details for PubMedID 22749194

  • Anxiety and functional disability in a large sample of children and adolescents with chronic pain PAIN RESEARCH & MANAGEMENT Simons, L. E., Sieberg, C. B., Claar, R. L. 2012; 17 (2): 93-97


    Anxiety is the most common psychiatric condition in children and adolescents, and is linked to significant disruptions across domains of function. Due to the avoidant nature of anxiety and pain-related disability, studying anxiety symptoms in children with chronic and recurrent pain conditions is important.To examine anxiety symptoms in a large cohort of children and adolescents evaluated for complex chronic and recurrent pain conditions.Through retrospective chart review, data on anxiety, pain and functional disability were collected from 655 children evaluated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic over a three-year period.Approximately 11% of children and adolescents reported clinically elevated anxiety symptoms, with elevated levels across dimensions of anxiety ranging from 14% (social anxiety, worry) to 27% (physiological). In addition, a notable 31% of the sample potentially minimized their anxiety by responding in a socially desirable manner. Anxiety was linearly associated with greater pain-related functional disability, but was not directly correlated with pain. Moderation analyses revealed that at low levels of worry, higher levels of pain were associated with greater functional disability, whereas at high levels of worry, pain no longer predicted the level of functional disability.These findings document the prevalence of anxiety in children and adolescents with chronic pain, and also extend recent studies examining the complex relationships among pain, anxiety and pain-related disability.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302480400005

    View details for PubMedID 22518371

  • Too sick for school? Parent influences on school functioning among children with chronic pain PAIN Logan, D. E., Simons, L. E., Carpino, E. A. 2012; 153 (2): 437-443


    Parental responses to children with chronic pain have been shown to influence the extent of the child's functional disability, but these associations have not been well studied in relation to children's pain-related school functioning. The current study tests the hypothesis that parental pain catastrophizing and parental protective responses to child pain influence the extent of school impairment in children with chronic pain. A mediational model was tested to determine whether parental protective behaviors serve a mediating role between parental pain catastrophizing and child school impairment. Study participants were a clinical sample of 350 children ages 8-17 years with chronic pain and their parents. Measures of pain characteristics, demographic characteristics, child depressive symptoms, school attendance rates, overall school functioning, parental pain catastrophizing, and parental protective responses to pain were collected. Results show that, controlling for the known influences of pain intensity and child depressive symptoms, parental pain catastrophizing and parental protective responses to child pain each independently predict child school attendance rates and reports of overall school impairment. Parental protectiveness was found to mediate the association between parental cognitions (i.e., parent pain catastrophizing) and child school functioning outcomes. These findings underscore the importance of intervening with parents to foster parental responses to child pain that help children engage and succeed in the school environment despite pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2011.11.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299319800026

    View details for PubMedID 22169177

  • Do Parent Protective Responses Mediate the Relation Between Parent Distress and Child Functional Disability Among Children With Chronic Pain? JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Sieberg, C. B., Williams, S., Simons, L. E. 2011; 36 (9): 1043-1051


    To examine whether protective parent responses mediate the relation between parent distress and child functioning.At a pain clinic evaluation, 157 families participated. Parents completed measures of global distress (BSI-18), distress in the context of their child's pain (BAP-PIQ), and protective responses to their child's pain. Children completed measures of functional disability and pain.BAP-PIQ subscales were significantly associated with child functional disability, whereas BSI subscales were unrelated. Protective parent responses partially mediated the relation between parent distress and child functional disability for depression, anxiety, and catastrophizing. However, parent protective behavior fully mediated the relationship between parent helplessness and child functional disability, indicating that feelings of parent helplessness did not uniquely contribute to child functional disability. Discussion Results suggest that when treating youth with chronic pain, parental distress in the context of children's pain needs to be addressed.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr043

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295804600009

    View details for PubMedID 21742755

  • Measuring parent beliefs about child acceptance of pain: A preliminary validation of the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire, parent report PAIN Simons, L. E., Sieberg, C. B., Kaczynski, K. J. 2011; 152 (10): 2294-2300


    Parent perceptions of and responses to pain have been identified as important factors in understanding pain-related disability among children and adolescents with chronic pain. The ability to accept chronic pain rather than focus on ways to avoid or control it has been linked to positive outcomes in chronic pain research. To examine parent beliefs about child acceptance of pain, the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire, parent report (CPAQ-P), was developed and administered to 195 parents of children with persistent pain evaluated in a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Analyses support the internal consistency of the CPAQ-P (α=.89) and 1-month stability estimates were acceptable for the total scale score (α=.72), and results suggest some responsivity to change. Exploratory factor analysis identified a 2-factor model with 4 items removed from the original 20-item measure. Confirmatory factor analysis strongly supported the modified version. For construct validity, parent beliefs about child acceptance were negatively correlated with parent pain catastrophizing and parent fear of pain. Greater acceptance was also negatively associated with protective parent responses to pain. These results support the CPAQ-P as a promising measure for assessing parent beliefs about child acceptance of pain and reinforce the importance of the social context and parental influence on child functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2011.06.018

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295213700020

    View details for PubMedID 21783324

  • Readiness to change in pediatric chronic pain: Initial validation of adolescent and parent versions of the Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire PAIN Guite, J. W., Logan, D. E., Simons, L. E., Blood, E. A., Kerns, R. D. 2011; 152 (10): 2301-2311


    Despite the clinical importance of readiness to change in predicting treatment outcomes among adults, no studies have examined this construct among pediatric pain patients. Because parents play a key role in adolescent pain management, both adolescent and parent readiness to adopt a self-management approach to pain merit further study. The primary goal of the current study was to validate adolescent and parent-report adaptations of the adult Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ). Participants included 259 adolescent patients with chronic pain syndromes and their parents presenting to 2 pediatric pain management clinics. Using confirmatory factor analytic techniques, a 4-factor solution was supported for the parent version (PSOCQ-P) that included Precontemplation, Contemplation, Action, and Maintenance factors, whereas the adolescent version (PSOCQ-A) version supported a three-factor model that combines the Action and Maintenance scales. Within both versions, each of the factors was found to be internally consistent. The PSOCQ-A and PSOCQ-P showed evidence of criterion validity through significant correlations with coping strategies and pain catastrophizing. Stability findings at 4 and 8 weeks after a multidisciplinary pain clinic evaluation are reported. Associations between pediatric PSOCQ scores and demographic, pain, and functional domains were explored to inform future research. Further validation of the PSOCQ-A and PSOCQ-P measures with new, separate samples of pediatric pain patients and parents are needed before use in clinical contexts.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2011.06.019

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295213700021

    View details for PubMedID 21802852

  • Anxiety, Coping, and Disability: A Test of Mediation in a Pediatric Chronic Pain Sample JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Kaczynski, K. J., Simons, L. E., Claar, R. L. 2011; 36 (8): 932-941


    To evaluate pain coping as a mediator of associations between anxiety and functional disability and anxiety and somatic symptoms in adolescents with chronic pain.Participants (mean age = 14.76 years, range: 12-17 years) included 280 patients (212 girls) with chronic pain who underwent multidisciplinary evaluation at a tertiary pain clinic in a northeast pediatric hospital. Patients completed measures of current pain, anxiety, active, passive, and accommodative pain coping, functional disability, and somatic symptoms.Structural equation modeling was employed. The association between anxiety and disability was fully mediated by passive coping. The association between anxiety and somatic symptoms was not mediated by coping.Links between anxiety symptoms and pain-related outcomes in adolescents with chronic pain are complex. Assessing how an adolescent copes with his/her pain provides further understanding of this relationship.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr024

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294121800010

    View details for PubMedID 21551124

  • Predictors of Long-Term Health-Related Quality of Life in Adolescent Solid Organ Transplant Recipients JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Devine, K. A., Reed-Knight, B., Loiselle, K. A., Simons, L. E., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2011; 36 (8): 891-901


    This study aimed to identify prospective predictors of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for adolescent solid organ (kidney, liver, heart, lung) transplant recipients.Data regarding demographics, individual/transplant characteristics, and environmental characteristics were gathered from 66 adolescent transplant recipients and their families at baseline and used to predict the physical functioning, mental health, and general health perceptions domains of HRQOL 18 months later.Baseline levels of HRQOL explained the greatest amount of variance in levels of HRQOL at follow-up; however, specific demographic (i.e., income), individual/transplant (i.e., adherence, frequency of rescheduled clinic appointments, and presence of a rejection episode), and environmental factors (i.e., family conflict) contributed to the variance in HRQOL domains beyond baseline levels.This study identified certain modifiable individual and environmental factors and non-modifiable risk factors associated with lower future HRQOL. Transplant centers should begin screening and addressing these factors to potentially improve HRQOL.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294121800006

    View details for PubMedID 21343144

  • Adolescents' pain coping profiles: Expectations for treatment, functional outcomes and adherence to psychological treatment recommendations PAIN RESEARCH & MANAGEMENT Claar, R. L., Simons, L. E. 2011; 16 (3): 192-196


    To explore how adolescents' pain coping profiles relate to their expectations regarding psychological treatment recommendations, and to examine patients' functioning and engagement in psychological treatment three months following a multidisciplinary pain clinic evaluation.Adolescents and their parents completed measures of pain coping strategies, treatment expectations, pain ratings, somatic symptoms, school absences and functional disability. Parents also reported whether patients followed through with psychological treatment recommendations.Adaptive copers and their parents were more likely to expect psychological treatments to be helpful; however, at follow-up, there were no significant group differences in patients' participation in psychological treatment. Patients in both groups experienced significantly lower levels of somatic symptoms and functional disability, and had fewer school absences from the initial evaluation to the follow-up.The results of the present study identify preliminary clinical implications for the way in which practitioners in multidisciplinary pain clinics present recommendations for psychological treatment to patients and their families.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000292042700007

    View details for PubMedID 21766070

  • Prospective comparison of parent and adolescent report of health-related quality of life in adolescent solid organ transplant recipients PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Devine, K. A., Reed-Knight, B., Simons, L. E., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2010; 14 (8): 1000-1006


    This 18-month prospective investigation sought to examine changes in HRQOL over time for adolescent solid organ transplant recipients. Additionally, this study examined the relationship between adolescent and parent report of HRQOL and compared parent report of HRQOL to published normative data. Forty-eight adolescent-parent dyads completed the CHQ, a measure of HRQOL, at two time periods. Parent and adolescent reports of HRQOL were stable over time. ICCs between parent and adolescent reports were significant and moderate across most domains of HRQOL, with the exception of family cohesion, physical functioning, and bodily pain. However, mean differences indicated that parents perceived significantly worse self-esteem and general health perceptions compared to their adolescents. Compared to normative data, parents reported significantly lower HRQOL across several domains, including adolescents' physical functioning and the emotional impact of their adolescent's condition on themselves. However, parents also reported higher levels of family cohesion. Results indicate that assessment of HRQOL for transplant recipients should include multiple reporters and that HRQOL as reported by adolescents and parents is generally stable over time without intervention. Further research is needed to understand factors related to differential HRQOL outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2010.01392.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285229500011

    View details for PubMedID 20846240

  • Medication Barriers Predict Adolescent Transplant Recipients' Adherence and Clinical Outcomes at 18-Month Follow-up JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Simons, L. E., McCormick, M. L., Devine, K., Blount, R. L. 2010; 35 (9): 1038-1048


    To prospectively validate the Parent and Adolescent Medication Barriers Scales (PMBS and AMBS) for assessing perceived barriers to medication adherence in adolescent transplant recipients by examining the relations of perceived barriers to medication adherence and clinical outcomes at 18-month follow-up.Of the 82 adolescent recipients enrolled in the initial cohort, 66 families participated in the follow-up. Relations among barriers, adherence, and clinical outcomes were examined.Reported barriers demonstrated temporal stability over an extended span of time. Adolescent-perceived barriers of Disease Frustration/Adolescent Issues and parent-perceived barriers of Regimen Adaptation/Cognitive Issues were associated with poorer adherence to medication taking at follow-up. Interestingly, medical complications and mortality were significantly associated with both parent and adolescent-perceived ingestion issues barriers.Barriers to adherence are essential to address in an effort to ameliorate adherence difficulties and potentially reduce the incidence of medical complications.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsq025

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282843100014

    View details for PubMedID 20410021

  • Development of a Group Intervention to Improve School Functioning in Adolescents with Chronic Pain and Depressive Symptoms: A Study of Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Logan, D. E., Simons, L. E. 2010; 35 (8): 823-836


    To establish feasibility and preliminary efficacy of "Coping with Pain in School" (CPS), an intervention to improve school functioning in adolescents with chronic pain and depressive symptoms.Forty adolescents and parents participated in this uncontrolled trial. Participants completed measures of pain severity, depression, and school attendance at baseline and one month after participating in a manualized group intervention. Several other indicators of school functioning were explored.CPS was generally acceptable and satisfying to families and feasible to implement but participation was low. Post-treatment analyses suggest that pain, some dimensions of depression, and school attendance improved after treatment. Conclusions CPS is feasible and holds promise in terms of its effects on pain and school attendance. Addressing enrollment challenges, refining the role of depression and its treatment, and further developing treatments with a school-functioning focus for adolescents with chronic pain are key areas for continued research.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsq008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281185300004

    View details for PubMedID 20167628

  • Engagement in Multidisciplinary Interventions for Pediatric Chronic Pain: Parental Expectations, Barriers, and Child Outcomes CLINICAL JOURNAL OF PAIN Simons, L. E., Logan, D. E., Chastain, L., Cerullo, M. 2010; 26 (4): 291-299


    To examine the adherence to the recommendations of pain treatment among children and adolescents evaluated for a variety of chronic and recurrent pain conditions.Several measures during initial evaluation and after 3 months were collected to assess satisfaction with initial evaluation, adherence to multidisciplinary recommendations, pain ratings, somatic symptoms, functional limitations, and school attendance.Of the 120 patients who initially enrolled in the study, 70 parents and 57 children participated in 3-month follow-up interviews and reported significantly fewer doctor visits, decreased somatic symptoms, fewer functional limitations, and decreased pain compared with their initial evaluation. Adherence to multidisciplinary recommendations ranged from 46.7% to 100% with the highest level of overall adherence to physical therapy. Factors associated with adherence varied across type of recommendation. For medical recommendations, higher parent-reported patient satisfaction and expectations that medical tests would be beneficial were associated with engagement in medical treatment, whereas parent reports of negative attitude-type barriers and experience with surgery were associated with less frequent engagement in recommended treatment. With regard to physical therapy recommendations, only earlier experience with exercise was associated with better adherence. For psychologic recommendations, familiarity with hypnosis and biofeedback in addition to positive expectations regarding psychologic treatment and biofeedback were all associated with subsequent engagement in psychologic treatment. Lastly, we identified modest associations between functional improvements and adherence to specific recommendations.Results of this study support the importance of examining adherence to multidisciplinary interventions among children and adolescents with chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181cf59fb

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277181500004

    View details for PubMedID 20393263

  • The Relation of Social Functioning to School Impairment Among Adolescents With Chronic Pain CLINICAL JOURNAL OF PAIN Simons, L. E., Logan, D. E., Chastain, L., Stein, M. 2010; 26 (1): 16-22


    To further our understanding of social functioning in children with chronic pain, and particularly how social functioning relates to school impairment in this population.This study involved 126 adolescents (12 to 17 y) evaluated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Adolescents completed measures assessing social functioning, pain, physical limitations, somatic symptoms, and school impairment.Lower social functioning scores were significantly associated with pain, physical limitations, somatic symptoms, and school impairment. Social functioning mediated the relations between adolescents' pain experience (ie, pain, physical symptoms, physical limitations) and school impairment.These findings highlight the importance of assessing and addressing social functioning in youth with chronic pain. Future research targeting school impairment should include evaluating the potential role that peer difficulties may play.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000273116900003

    View details for PubMedID 20026948

  • School Functioning in Adolescents With Chronic Pain: The Role of Depressive Symptoms in School Impairment JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Logan, D. E., Simons, L. E., Kaczynski, K. J. 2009; 34 (8): 882-892


    To explore associations between depressive symptoms and school functioning, including school attendance, academic performance, self-perceived academic competence, and teacher-rated school adjustment among predominantly Caucasian and female adolescent chronic pain patients.A total of 217 clinically referred adolescents (aged 12-17 years) and their parents completed measures of pain characteristics, depression, and school functioning. Additional data were collected from school records and teacher reports.Depressive symptoms strongly correlated with school functioning indicators. In linear regression analyses, higher levels of depressive symptoms predicted more school impairment. A model testing whether depressive symptoms mediated the association between current pain intensity and parent perceptions of the interference of pain on school functioning was supported by the data.Depressive symptoms play a key role in influencing the extent of school impairment in adolescents with chronic pain. Interventions to alleviate depressive symptoms may enhance treatments designed to improve school functioning in this population.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn143

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269207800010

    View details for PubMedID 19181819

  • Multidimensional Adherence Classification System: Initial development with adolescent transplant recipients PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Simons, L. E., Gilleland, J., Blount, R. L., Amaral, S., Berg, A., Mee, L. L. 2009; 13 (5): 590-598


    As transplantation has progressively become a more viable option for children with life-threatening illness, ensuring that adolescents do not lose their new organ secondary to medication non-adherence is paramount. The first step to addressing non-adherence is adequate assessment of this construct. In this investigation, we introduce the MACS. The MACS includes self-report and drug assay levels. Self-report is a subjective measure with a low false-positive rate, but is vulnerable to social desirability. Drug assays are an objective measure of drug ingestion, but values suggestive of non-adherence may be influenced by medical complications and timing. The MACS builds on the strengths of both methods and attempts to contain their weaknesses. The sample in this study consisted of 82 adolescent solid organ transplant recipients. The non-adherence rate using the MACS in this sample was 61%. Initial data to support this system are promising. The occurrence of rejection episodes and mortality were significantly related to membership in the Genuinely Non-adherent category. Beyond providing initial support for the MACS, we discuss the clinical implications of this adherence classification system.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2008.01038.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000267756100014

    View details for PubMedID 18992064

  • Parent and patient perspectives on barriers to medication adherence in adolescent transplant recipients PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Simons, L. E., McCormick, M. L., Mee, L. L., Blount, R. L. 2009; 13 (3): 338-347


    The aim of this study was to identify barriers to medication adherence in adolescent transplant recipients. Eighty adolescent transplant recipient families reported in an open-ended manner about barriers to medication adherence. These responses were then coded to reflect potentially important themes associated with medication adherence. The themes derived included: forgot/distracted, poor planning/scheduling issues, physical barriers/medication issues, and voluntary resistance/attempts to be normal. Inter-rater reliability for barrier coding was very high (k = 0.91). Patients who were classified as non-adherent reported significantly more overall barriers, more forgot/distracted barriers, and more voluntary resistance/attempts to be normal barriers than those classified as adherent. Non-adherence was also found to be more likely when adolescents, as opposed to parents, were responsible for administering the medication. Further, non-adherence was more likely when taking morning rather than evening doses. These findings are explained with an emphasis on potential remedies that directly address the stated barriers.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2008.00940.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000264891700014

    View details for PubMedID 18433413

  • Pain coping profiles in adolescents with chronic pain PAIN Claar, R. L., Baber, K. F., Simons, L. E., Logan, D. E., Walker, L. S. 2008; 140 (2): 368-375


    This study sought to evaluate the extent to which the pain coping profiles observed by Walker and colleagues in a sample of patients with chronic abdominal pain also were evident in a sample of adolescent patients who presented to a tertiary care clinic for evaluation of a variety of diverse pain conditions. In addition, we aimed to evaluate the relation of these pain coping profiles to patients' emotional and physical functioning. Participants (n=254) were adolescent patients aged 12-17 years. Patients completed the Pain Response Inventory (PRI) as well as measures of pain, somatic symptoms, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and functional disability. Using the PRI classification algorithm developed by Walker and colleagues, we successfully classified all the patients in our sample. We also found that the pain coping profiles successfully differentiated among patients with different levels of symptoms, disability, and emotional distress, further demonstrating the external validity of these profiles. Results have implications for tailoring pain treatment interventions to patients' particular coping profiles.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2008.09.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000261551700013

    View details for PubMedID 18938032

  • The Impact of Adult Behaviors and Vocalizations on Infant Distress during Immunizations JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Blount, R. L., Devine, K. A., Cheng, P. S., Simons, L. E., Hayutin, L. 2008; 33 (10): 1163-1174


    The Child-Adult Medical Procedure Interaction Scale-Infant Version (CAMPIS-IV) was used to examine the influence of adult and infant behaviors on infant distress following injections.In this naturalistic observation study, videotaped interactions of 49 infants, parents, and nurses were coded using the CAMPIS-IV. A series of three lag sequential analyses were used to examine the immediate and delayed effects of each of the CAMPIS-IV criterion behaviors, as well as the effects of the onset of each behavior, on infant distress.Strong support was found for beneficial effects of the infants playing with an object and sucking, and for adults' belly-to-belly contact and nonprocedural talk to infant. Some benefit was found for bouncing, patting, and rocking the infant. Apologizing, empathizing, and reassuring the infant received no support, with some indication of detrimental effects.The CAMPIS-IV was useful for identifying modifiable risk and protective factors for infants undergoing injections.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000260557600011

    View details for PubMedID 18375966

  • Evidence-based assessment of coping and stress in pediatric psychology JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Blount, R. L., Simons, L. E., Devine, K. A., Jaaniste, T., Cohen, L. L., Chambers, C. T., Hayutin, L. G. 2008; 33 (9): 1021-1045


    To review selected measures of stress and coping in pediatric populations. Stress and coping are presented within a risk and resiliency framework.The Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) surveyed the membership to identify the most frequently used assessment instruments. Twelve measures of coping and three measures of stress were reviewed. These instruments were evaluated using the Stress and Coping workgroup's modification of the criteria developed by the SPP Assessment Task Force (SPP-ATF).One of the three measures of stress and five of the 12 measures of coping were Well-established measures that broaden understanding. Additionally, one of the coping measures was categorized as a Well-established measure that guides treatment. Merits of the individual measures are discussed.Recommendations for future research are provided, including suggestions for the construction and use of measures to inform treatment research.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm071

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259329400012

    View details for PubMedID 17938147

  • Chronic pain in adolescence: Parental responses, adolescent coping, and their impact on adolescents pain behaviors JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Simons, L. E., Claar, R. L., Logan, D. L. 2008; 33 (8): 894-904


    The aim of this study was to examine relations among parental responses, adolescent pain coping, and pain behaviors in adolescents with chronic pain.This study included 217 adolescents (12-17 years) evaluated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic and their parents. Adolescents completed measures assessing their pain, pain coping responses, functional disability, and somatic symptoms. Parents reported on their responses to their adolescent's pain.Passive and active coping interacted with parental protective behavior to predict adolescents' pain behaviors. Contrary to expectations, among adolescents who reported infrequent use of passive or active coping strategies, higher levels of parental protective behavior were associated with higher levels of disability and somatic symptoms. Discussion Among adolescents who report infrequent use of passive and active coping responses, parental protective responses to pain may inadvertently promote greater disability and symptom complaints. Parental responses to pain may be an important target to treat adolescent chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn029

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258141300011

    View details for PubMedID 18375447

  • Parental response to children's pain: The moderating impact of children's emotional distress on symptoms and disability PAIN Claar, R. L., Simons, L. E., Logan, D. E. 2008; 138 (1): 172-179


    Parental responses play a central role in the development and maintenance of children's pain behavior. Previous studies examining the impact of parental responses on children's pain have focused mainly on protective or solicitous responses. This study examined the impact of parental responses, including protectiveness, minimization of pain, and encouraging and monitoring responses, on children's functional disability and somatic symptoms. Participants included 327 patients with chronic pain, ages 8-17, who completed measures of pain, disability, somatic symptoms, depression, and anxiety. Patients' parents completed a measure assessing parental responses to their children's pain. Results show that for children with higher levels of emotional distress, maladaptive parental responses to pain (e.g., criticism, discounting of pain, increased attention to pain, and granting of special privileges) were associated with increased disability and somatic symptoms. Results of this study demonstrate the important ways in which parents can influence how their children cope with and manage chronic pain. Children whose parents are overly protective or critical of their pain may experience more impairment or somatic symptoms, particularly those children who are already at risk for difficulties due to higher levels of emotional distress.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2007.12.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258746100021

    View details for PubMedID 18221837

  • School impairment in adolescents with chronic pain JOURNAL OF PAIN Logan, D. E., Simons, L. E., Stein, M. J., Chastain, L. 2008; 9 (5): 407-416


    The purpose of this study was to assess and describe school functioning among adolescents presenting for evaluation in a tertiary care pediatric chronic pain clinic. Adolescents (n = 220, aged 12-17) and their parents participated in the study, providing self-reported data on school attendance, school performance, and perceived academic competence. Participants' schools provided official attendance records, descriptions of accommodations implemented to address the student's pain problems in the school setting, and teacher ratings of academic competence. Results show that many adolescents with chronic pain miss a significant amount of school, experience a decline in grades, and perceive pain to interfere with their school success. Various indicators of school impairment are highly intercorrelated, suggesting that impairment or success in 1 domain is typically associated with similar patterns in other domains of school functioning. However, as a group, adolescents with pain are viewed by themselves and their teachers as academically competent. Strong correlations emerged between different reporters of school functioning indicators such as attendance, suggesting that reliance on parent or adolescent reporting may be sufficient when assessing these domains. Findings underscore the importance of broadly assessing school functioning in adolescents with chronic pain.This study extends our understanding of school functioning among adolescents with chronic pain. It highlights the need to assess both school attendance and performance in this population as well as how schools respond to pain problems. Devising summary indicators of school impairment can be useful in both clinical and research contexts.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2007.12.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256032500004

    View details for PubMedID 18255341

  • Initial development of the pediatric camp outcome measure CHILDRENS HEALTH CARE Simons, L. E., Gilleland, J., McDanel, A. H., Blount, R. L., Campbell, R. 2008; 37 (2): 158-169
  • Understanding the pathway between the transplant experience and health-related quality of life outcomes in adolescents PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Simons, L. E., Anglin, G., Warshaw, B. L., Mahle, W. T., Vincent, R. N., Blount, R. L. 2008; 12 (2): 187-193


    Developments in solid organ transplantation have resulted in improved survival for children with advanced kidney, liver, and heart disease; however, concerns have been raised regarding the quality of life of survivors. This study examined HRQOL in adolescent transplant recipients. We examined the influence of demographic, treatment regimen, and family factors on physical and mental health domains of HRQOL. The current single-center investigation involved 68 solid organ transplant recipients and their parents. All families participated in a structured interview to collect information on demographics, characteristics of the adolescents' disease and treatment regimen, family functioning, and HRQOL for parents and adolescents. Using hierarchical regression analyses, predictive models of physical functioning and mental health outcomes for adolescent transplant recipients were developed for parent-proxy and adolescent self-report. Perceived frequency of medication side-effects and family conflict significantly contributed to adolescent physical functioning and mental health outcomes. Taken together, transplant consequences and family environment significantly impact physical and mental health outcomes in adolescent transplant recipients. Our findings demonstrate the need for pharmacological considerations and psychological interventions to address these areas.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2007.00805.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253637400012

    View details for PubMedID 18307667

  • Decreases in anxiety associated with participation in a camp for children with cardiac defects CARDIOLOGY IN THE YOUNG Simons, L. E., Blount, R. L., Campbell, R., Hubbard, A., Goodwin, B., Devine, K., Benoit, M. 2007; 17 (6): 631-637


    The aim of our study was to examine psychosocial changes associated with participation in a camp for children with cardiac defects. We enrolled 29 children with cardiac defects aged from 8 to 18 years, along with their parents. Both the parents and the children completed measures of expectations for the camp and anxiety. Analyses of repeated measures indicated that levels of anxiety amongst the children decreased significantly at the end of camp when compared to its beginning. Levels of anxiety amongst the children were not statistically different at follow-up. Anxiety amongst the parents concerning the separation from their children also decreased at follow-up when compared to before the camp. Higher levels of anxiety reported by the children prior to the camp were associated with greater anxiety amongst the parents concerning the anticipated separation, more negative parental expectations of the camp, fewer experiences of separation from their children, and lower expectations by the children for the camping experience. Reductions in anxiety amongst the children following the camp were associated with negative parental expectations about the camping experience. The camping environment can provide a naturalistic exposure to new experiences for the child, and a successful separation for the parent, thereby promoting confidence amongst the parents in the ability of their children to function independently.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/S1047951107001485

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251909900009

    View details for PubMedID 17961266

  • Social support, coping, and psychological distress in mothers and fathers of pediatric transplant candidates: A pilot study PEDIATRIC TRANSPLANTATION Simons, L., Ingerski, L. M., Janicke, D. M. 2007; 11 (7): 781-787


    Both parents and children report significant psychological difficulties and family disruption prior to transplantation; however, there have been fewer studies examining predictors of distress in both mothers and fathers and across multiple transplant groups. Thirty-four mothers and 22 fathers participated in this pilot study. Parents completed measures during a routine tertiary pretransplant psychological evaluation. Paired sample t-test results indicated that mothers and fathers differed significantly on specific coping strategies employed, with fathers less likely to use engagement strategies than mothers. Correlation analyses demonstrated strong associations between engagement coping strategies and less psychological distress and the reverse with disengagement coping strategies for both mothers and fathers. Social support was associated with less psychological distress for mothers, but was unrelated to distress for fathers. Using regression analyses, for mothers, lack of social support, and disengagement coping predicted poor psychological outcomes. Taken together, these results suggest that assessing specific coping strategies employed by both mothers and fathers is an essential component of the pretransplant evaluation process. This study delineates areas for intervention that impact adjustment in parents of pediatric transplant candidates.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2007.00726.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249925000014

    View details for PubMedID 17910657

  • Identifying barriers to medication adherence in adolescent transplant recipients JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Simons, L. E., Blount, R. L. 2007; 32 (7): 831-844


    To create Parent and Adolescent Medication Barriers Scales (PMBS and AMBS) for assessing perceived barriers to medication adherence in adolescent transplant recipients.These scales were developed and initially validated with 78 families. Participants responded to questions concerning perceived barriers to medication adherence. To assess validity, data on contextual factors (e.g., family functioning) and adherence measures were collected.A principal components factor analysis resulted in the following subscales for the PMBS and AMBS: (a) Disease Frustration/Adolescent Issues, (b) Regimen Adaptation/Cognitive Issues, (c) Ingestion Issues, and (d) Parent Reminder (PMBS only). Significant associations were found between barrier scale scores, contextual factors, and adherence.The PMBS and AMBS are brief and psychometrically promising scales for assessing perceived barriers to adherence in adolescent transplant recipients.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248271000009

    View details for PubMedID 17522111