Retrospective Reports of Parental Socialization of Physical Pain During Childhood Predicting Emerging Adults’ Current Coping With Pain

  •  Julie DiNuoscio    
  •  Vaishali V. Raval    
  •  Bethany L. Walker    


Although a bulk of the literature has examined the methods by which people cope with physical pain, little attention has been devoted to how people learn to respond to pain. The current study examined the relation between college students’ reports of parental socialization of pain during childhood and their current coping with pain. One hundred twenty-four (65.3% female) college students reported on two methods of parental socialization they experienced during childhood: a) their mothers’ direct responses to their physical pain and b) mothers’ modeling of how they coped with their own pain. College students also reported on their own current coping strategies regarding physical pain. Results indicated that retrospective reports of mothers’ active coping with their own pain and mothers’ promotion responses to their child’s pain during childhood significantly positively predicted college students’ current active coping. These findings suggest the relevance of both methods of pain socialization (parental modeling and parents’ direct responses) for college-age children’s current coping with pain.

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