Upper Extremity Function, Peer Relationships, and Pain Interference: Evaluating the Biopsychosocial Model in a Pediatric Hand Surgery Population Using PROMIS


      The relationship between biopsychosocial factors and patient-reported function is less clear in pediatric than in adult hand surgery patients. Our primary hypothesis was that pain interference (PI) and peer relationships (PR) would demonstrate association with upper extremity function. Secondarily, we hypothesized that the magnitude of this effect would increase with age.


      Patients aged 5 to 17 years presenting to a tertiary academic clinic between October 2017 and January 2019 were included. The parent/guardian was administered the following instruments after indicating they, rather than the patient, were answering the questions on a tablet computer: Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Upper Extremity (UE) Parent Proxy (PP) Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) v2.0, PROMIS PI PP CAT v2.0, and the PROMIS PR PP CAT v2.0. Ceiling/floor effects and Spearman correlations were calculated. Multivariable Tobit modeling was performed to determine whether biopsychosocial factors and upper extremity function were associated. Multivariable regression coefficients were compared between age cohorts using a separate multivariable model to evaluate the interaction between age and other predictors.


      Of 139 included participants, the mean age was 11.7 ± 3.7 years and 50% were female. For patients 11 years of age or younger, UE was weakly correlated with PI (coefficient, –0.34; 95% confidence interval, –0.56 to –0.08) and was not correlated with PR. For patients older than 11 years, UE had moderate correlation with PI (coefficient, –0.60; 95% confidence interval, –0.72 to –0.45) and was not correlated with PR. Multivariable analysis demonstrated a significant negative association between PI and UE, with a significantly larger magnitude of effect for patients older than 11 years of age.


      The biopsychosocial model applies to pediatric hand surgery patients. The association between greater pain interference and worse patient-reported upper extremity function, as assessed using parent proxy instruments, was significantly stronger for patients older than 11 years than those 11 years old or younger.

      Clinical relevance

      This study suggests that the biopsychosocial model applies to pediatric hand patients.

      Key words

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