Although attachment theory is not new, its theoretical implications for the pediatric chronic pain context have not been thoroughly considered, and the empirical implications and potential clinical applications are worth exploring. The attachment framework broadly focuses on interactions between a child’s developing self-regulatory systems and their caregiver’s responses. These interactions are believed to create a template for how individuals will relate to others in the future, and may help account for normative and pathological patterns of emotions and behavior throughout life. This review outlines relevant aspects of the attachment framework to the pediatric chronic pain context. The theoretical and empirical literature is reviewed regarding the potential role of attachment-based constructs such as vulnerability and maintaining factors of pediatric chronic pain. The nature and targets of attachment-based pediatric interventions are considered, with particular focus on relevance for the pediatric chronic pain context. The potential role of attachment style in the transition from acute to chronic pain is considered, with further research directions outlined.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited