Chronic pain makes parenting more difficult as ill mothers have to manage pain and parenting responsibilities simultaneously. The present study Compares relational coping strategies in mothers with LBP, RA, MS and well mothers; in addition examines the role of copings in pain severity and pain-related disability of mothers with chronic illness. Sample consisted of 134 mothers with LBP, 120 mothers with RA, 126 mothers with MS and 130 well mothers. They participated in an interview on relational coping strategies and completed questionnaires of VAS and PDQ. Results demonstrated that mothers with chronic illness utilized more rest and taking drugs and distraction in comparison of well mothers. Mothers with LBP were more engaged in self-preservation parenting than mothers with MS. Well mothers utilized more quality one-on-one time in comparison of ill mothers. Correlation analysis revealed that relational coping strategies with the theme of fear-avoidance of pain were negatively associated with pain severity and pain-related disability in ill mothers (i.e., rest and taking drugs, self-preservation parenting, setting boundaries and encouraging mature behavior in children). On the other hand, relational coping strategies with the theme of confrontation with pain including distraction and quality one-on-one time were negatively associated with pain severity and quality one-on-one time was negatively associated with pain-related disability. Results offered implication for practitioners and scholars about the role of illness in utilizing relational coping strategies and provided evidence for the role of copings with the theme of fear-avoidance of pain in aggravation of pain and disability.
Key words: chronic illness, fear-avoidance model, pain-related disability, relational coping strategies, severity of pain.