Objective: To discuss the numerous psychological barriers to optimum pain relief in infants, children, and adolescents.
Data sources: The professional and scientific literature on pediatric pain was accessed by means of Psychlit and Medline searches. Our clinical experience with patients was also used.
Data syntheses: The potential barriers to optimum management were discussed in terms of cognitive and emotional developmental barriers, perceived lack of control, children's knowledge and attitudes, and characteristics of children.
Conclusions: The psychological barriers to optimum pain relief are significant and attention to these barriers could lead to better pain management.