Adverse childhood experiences in mothers with chronic pain and intergenerational impact on children.

Review written by Robin Kerr info

Key Points

  1. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are more prevalent in individuals with chronic pain compared to the general population.
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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) (occurring before 18th birthday) have been linked to a number of poor physical and mental health outcomes in adulthood (1) (see Figure 1 for examples of ACES). Maternal ACES and chronic pain have also been associated with poor physical and emotional health in these mothers’ children (2,3,4). This paper presented the baseline findings on data from the initial 18 months of a three-year (multisite) longitudinal observational study.

The aims of this paper were to evaluate the:

  1. Prevalence of ACES in a large sample of mothers with chronic pain who have school-aged children.
  2. Relationship between maternal ACES, the experience of chronic pain and the mothers’ subsequent physical and emotional functioning.
  3. Association between maternal ACES and children’s pain, somatic symptoms, physical function and depressive symptoms.
  4. Potential mechanisms which may account for the association between maternal ACES and children’s symptoms.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) have been linked to a number of poor physical and mental health outcomes in adulthood.
The baseline findings from this paper present maternal depression as a target for preventative interventions that may protect children from the intergenerational impacts of ACES.



This paper explored the baseline data with cross-sectional evaluation. Mothers were recruited from USA pain clinics after seeking treatment and fulfilling the criteria for persistent pain (n=326 dyads (mother + child)). The children started the study between ages 8 to

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