College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Winter 3-22-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Susan Tran, PhD

Second Advisor

Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, PhD


Juvenile Fibromyalgia (JFM) is a pediatric chronic pain condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and multiple tender points. JFM impacts individuals both physically and mentally with symptoms including frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, decreased physical activity, anxiety, and depression. The impact of potentially traumatic events (PTEs) on the JFM population is poorly understood in the literature. However, it is well understood that exposure to PTEs are commonly associated with increased psychopathology and somatic symptoms. It is important to understand whether individuals with a combination of PTEs and JFM are placed at greater risk for negative long-term outcomes. This study sets out to gain an understanding of the types of PTEs that are experienced by a sample of youth diagnosed with JFM. Additionally, utilizing data over an eight-year time period, long-term outcomes in youth with JFM and PTEs were explored through a dose-response model. Results found that more than half of the sample endorsed exposure to a PTE. A dose-response relationship was observed with PTEs and JFM symptom severity. Conversely, PTEs did not predict depression, average level of pain, pain locations, physical function or role limitations due to physical problems. Similarly, PTEs did not predict health care utilization (outpatient visits, radiological scans, and emergency department visits). Results suggest that PTEs are complex and require additional research to understand the extent to which PTEs impact youth with chronic pain. Preliminary findings show a significant relationship between PTEs and JFM symptom severity, however, the mechanisms that influence this relationship is not well understood. Thus, future work should focus on identifying the mechanisms that influence this relationship in order to better understand this complex subgroup.

SLP Collection