Mobile Coach for Parents of Children and Adolescents with Chronic Pain

Period of Performance: 09/26/2016 - 03/31/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Bodimojo, Inc.
Milton, MA 02186
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


PROJECT SUMMARY Mobile Coach for Parents of Children and Adolescents with Chronic Pain Chronic pain ? or pain that persists for 3 months or more ? is conservatively estimated to affect 20% to 35% of children and adolescents around the world, making it a distressingly common experience. For parents, witnessing their children in pain is often a heart breaking experience. Further, the stress among parents of children with chronic pain poses a significant mental health concern as they experience significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression relative to parents of healthy children. Further, childhood pain brings significant direct and indirect costs from healthcare utilization and lost wages due to taking time off work to care for the child. Yet, few interventions for parents of children and adolescents with pain have been developed to address the unmet needs of this group. Several approaches have been found to be effective at helping adults manage the stress of parenting a child with a chronic health condition, including mindful-based stress reduction (MBSR). However, such time-intensive group interventions are difficult to disseminate, with high attrition rates and limited transportability. We propose a new product which will build upon an established core technology platform: BodiMojo Parent Buddy. The Parent Buddy will draw on evidence-based approaches to deliver an intervention designed to help parents: (1) respond to their child's pain, and (2) to decrease stress through mindfulness-based parenting skills. A major innovation of the proposed product is the development of proprietary Empathic Adaptive Dialog Manager (EADM) based on a theory of emotional appraisal. The EADM technology is designed to provide dynamic interaction and relevant content tailored for parents, based on their coping skills and perceived stress. This approach will deliver real time strategies for coping and communication with a child in pain and self-management parenting skills (e.g., ?take deep breaths,? ?seek support,? or learn to ?let it go.?) The development of an easily disseminated mHealth intervention, Parent Buddy, could bridge an important gap in available parenting support for children who suffer with pain. Furthermore, such a program has the potential to deliver a highly cost-effective program to a wide range of parents. The Phase I proposal will evaluate the feasibility of the Parent Buddy for parents of children (ages 8-12) and adolescents (ages 13-18) years who experience chronic pain, through (1) formative research with parents and health providers; (2) the creation of develop a BodiMojo Parent Buddy prototype; and (3) a 30-day pilot test with 24 parents of children and adolescents with chronic pain and acceptability by health providers.