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Pain-coping scale for children and their parents: a cross-sectional study in children with musculoskeletal pain

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2023 Jan 25;21(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s12969-023-00791-1.


BACKGROUND: In a chronic pain-causing disease such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the quality of coping with pain is crucial. Parents have a substantial influence on their children’s pain-coping strategies. This study aimed to develop scales for assessing parents’ strategies for coping with their children’s pain and a shorter improved scale for children usable in clinical practice.

METHODS: The number of items in the Finnish version of the pain-coping questionnaire for children was reduced from 39 to 20. A corresponding reduced scale was created for parental use. We recruited consecutive patients from nine hospitals evenly distributed throughout Finland, aged 8-16 years who visited a paediatric rheumatology outpatient clinic and reported musculoskeletal pain during the past week. The patients and parents rated the child’s pain on a visual analogue scale from 0 to 100 and completed pain-coping questionnaires and depression inventories. The selection process of pain questionnaire items was performed using factor analyses.

RESULTS: The average (standard deviation) age of the 130 patients was 13.0 (2.3) years; 91 (70%) were girls. Four factors were retained in the new, improved Pain-Coping Scales for children and parents. Both scales had 15 items with 2-5 items/factor. The goodness-of-fit statistics and Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients were satisfactory to good in both scaled. The criterion validity was acceptable as the demographic, disease related, and the depression and stress questionnaires correlated with the subscales.

CONCLUSIONS: We created a shorter, feasible pain-coping scale for children and a novel scale for caregivers. In clinical work, the pain coping scales may serve as a visualisation of different types of coping strategies for paediatric patients with pain and their parents and facilitate the identification of families in need of psychological support.

PMID:36694196 | DOI:10.1186/s12969-023-00791-1

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