How children and adolescents in primary care cope with pain and the biopsychosocial factors that correlate with pain-related disability

Acta Paediatr. 2013 Oct;102(10):1021-6. doi: 10.1111/apa.12352. Epub 2013 Aug 5.


Aim: To describe how children and adolescents cope with pain and to examine the biopsychosocial factors that correlate with pain-related disability (PRD) in a sample of primary care patients.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 133 patients, aged from eight to 16 years, who consulted primary care physiotherapy on a pain-related problem. Data were collected with the Functional Disability Inventory, the Pain Coping Questionnaire and a study-specific questionnaire. Linear multivariate regression analyses were applied to study the associations between PRD and (i) pain coping, (ii) individual-, pain-related and psychosocial variables.

Results: Behavioural distraction, externalizing and catastrophizing explained 13% of the variance in PRD (regression model 1). In addition, pain intensity, worrying and the ability to reduce pain explained 21% of the variance in PRD (regression model 2).

Conclusion: Variance in PRD was partly explained by pain intensity, worrying and ability to reduce pain and by behavioural distraction, externalizing and catastrophizing. Future prospective longitudinal studies are needed to identify possible additional variables explaining PRD, establish causality and the potential benefits of addressing these variables in interventions in primary care.

Keywords: Children; Pain coping; Pain-related disability; Primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Attention
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires