Psychosocial aspects of chronic pain in a clinical pediatric sample

Megan M Miller, Purdue University


Chronic pain, defined as pain lasting more than 3 months, is a common and costly health condition. Thirty-three percent of adults and upwards of 35% of children report experiencing pain due to various diseases, disorders, or accidents. Recent research has identified perceived injustice and anger as important constructs in an adult’s pain experience and a possible focus for intervention efforts. The present study explored the extent to which perceived injustice and anger expression operate similarly in children with chronic pain as in adults. This was a retrospective analysis of data from 122 patients seeking treatment at a pediatric pain clinic. Results supported anger expression as a mediator in the relationship between perceived injustice and pain intensity but not psychological distress, suggesting that anger expression operates similarly in children as in adults with chronic pain. Unlike previous findings in adults with chronic pain, injustice did not moderate the relationship between pain intensity and psychological distress, suggesting that injustice operates differently in children with chronic pain compared to adults. The strong association between injustice and pain outcomes (i.e. pain intensity, quality of life, functional disability) suggests that injustice is an important construct to explore in the chronic pain experience of children.




Hirsh, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social psychology

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