Peer victimization, or intentional aggression perpetuated by peers, may negatively affect mood and pain and may limit activity in youths with chronic pain, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain.
A total of 74 adolescents (age range, 14-18 years) with chronic pain (ie, lasting >3 months) were enrolled from 2 pediatric pain management clinics in Oregon and Washington state. Age-matched control adolescents without chronic pain were also recruited from the community (n=82). Peer victimization was assessed using a 12-item checklist based on the Revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire, the Social Network Peer Experiences Questionnaire, and the Cyber Experiences Questionnaire. Mood was assessed using an 11-point numeric rating scale, and scores were correlated with rates of reported peer victimization. Additional variables assessed included sleep quality, pain intensity, and activity limitations.
A total of 105 (67%) adolescents reported peer victimization for ≥1 day during the monitoring period. In participants with chronic pain, person-mean peer victimization was found to predict worsening mood, sleep quality, and pain intensity and increased activity limitation (P <.001 for all). A total effect of mood as a mediator between victimization by peers and next-day pain was established (P =.03), and an indirect effect of mood was established between peer victimization and next-day activity limitations (P =.03).
Study limitations include a small number of participants as well as the reliance on self-reported data.
“The chronicity of peer victimization experiences may be an especially potent indicator of risk compared [with] more episodic instances of victimization,” the researchers concluded.
Fales JL, Murphy LK, Rights JD, Palermo TM. Daily peer victimization experiences of adolescents with and without chronic pain: associations with mood, sleep, pain, and activity limitations [published online May 29, 2019]. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2019.05.016