Kristen E. Jastrowski Mano, Kristie Bergmann, Jacquelyn Corvan, Steven J. Weisman, W. Hobart Davies, Keri R. Hainsworth
Background: Overweight and obese youth are at an increased risk for chronic pain. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether parental perceptions of youth pain complaints are influenced by youth weight status or the provision of a medical diagnosis for the pain problem. Methods: Using an analogue model, participants (N=272 parents) read a randomly assigned vignette and completed a 26-item questionnaire. Vignettes varied according to a 2 X 2 design (weight status: obese versus normal weight; medical diagnosis: presence versus absence). A two-group between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted. Results: There was a statistically significant main effect for weight status (F (2, 230) = 5.840, p<0.05). The effect of weight status was significant for Likelihood of Treatment Benefit (F (1, 231) = 10.186, p<0.05), but not Seriousness (F (1, 231) = 0.885, p>0.05). Providing a medical diagnosis for the pain problem did not affect parents’ perceptions. Conclusions: Results suggest that obesity strongly influences parents’ perceptions of youth pain reports. Parents of youth with chronic pain may perceive their children’s pain as more modifiable as a function of their child’s obesity. The current findings are an impetus to examine factors that may positively influence perceptions of pain legitimacy and attitudes toward the child.