"Just be in pain and just move on": Functioning limitations and strategies in the lives of children with chronic pain.

Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles.
Journal of pain management 04/2008; 1(2):131-141.
Source: PubMed


This paper uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact of pain-associated functioning limitations on children's lives and the strategies they develop to try to continue functioning. Forty-five children ages 10-18 completed standardized questionnaires and participated in semistructured interviews prior to intake at a university-based tertiary clinic specializing in the treatment of pediatric chronic pain. All the children reported that pain limited their functioning in everyday activities and that these limitations caused them frustration and distress. Qualitative analysis identified three distinct functioning patterns or groups, which were designated as Adaptive, Passive, and Stressed. The groups did not differ significantly in demographics or clinical pain characteristics. Adaptive children continued to participate in many activities and were more likely to realize that focusing on pain would heighten their perception of pain. Children in this group reported more effective use of distraction and of other independently developed strategies to continue functioning. Passive children had given up most activities, tended to use passive distraction when in pain, and were more likely to feel isolated and different from peers. Stressed children described themselves as continuing to function, but were highly focused on their pain and the difficulties of living with it. The qualitative groupings were supported by quantitative findings that Stressed children reported a higher degree of social anxiety than did Passive children and were more likely than the other groups to report experiencing pain throughout the day. Finally, Adaptive children were rated by their parents as having better overall health compared to Passive children.

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