Temperament and stress response in children with fibromyalgia syndrome
Conte, Paola Maria
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Sixteen children with fibromyalgia, 16 with arthritis and 16 healthy controls participated in a study which examined temperament, stress response, child psychological adjustment, family environment, pain sensitivity, and stress response differences among groups. Parental psychological adjustment was also measured. Participants completed the Dimensions of Temperament Scale-Revised (DOTS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), Family Environment Scale (FES), Sensory Temperament Inventory (STIP), and Youth Self-Report (YSR). Stress response levels were measured by collection of a cortisol sample prior to and following venipuncture. Parents were asked to complete the parent versions of the DOTS-R, FES, STIP, Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90). Results indicated that children and adolescents with FM demonstrated more difficult temperament, increased levels of depression and anxiety, lower family cohesion, and higher levels of pain sensitivity. Mothers, in rating themselves, also reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, and lower overall psychological adjustment. Differences in stress response levels between groups, prior to and following venipuncture, were not found to be significant. However, there was a significant gender effect, as males demonstrated higher cortisol levels pre-venipuncture and females had higher post-venipuncture levels. Pain sensitivity was found to be highly associated with temperament, family environment, and psychological adjustment variables, for both the entire sample and within each group. Clinical and research implications, and suggestions for further study are discussed.
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