A Child’s Concept of Pain: An International Survey of Pediatric Pain Experts Academic Article uri icon


  • A child's 'concept of pain' refers to how they understand what pain actually is, what function pain serves, and what biological processes are thought to underpin it. We aimed to determine pediatric pain experts' opinions of: (1) the importance and usefulness of assessing a child's concept of pain in clinical and/or research settings; (2) the usefulness of the content of items within currently published adult-targeted resources for assessing a child's concept of pain; and (3) important domains of a child's concept of pain to assess. Forty-nine pediatric pain experts (response rate = 75.4%) completed an online survey. Descriptive statistics and frequency of responses were analyzed. Experts from all included disciplines reported that assessing a child's concept of pain is important and useful both clinically and in a research setting (>80% reported very or extremely useful for each item). Experts considered that the content of 13 items from currently published adult-targeted resources was useful, but the wording was too complex for children aged 8-12 years. Experts considered that all seven of the proposed domains of a child's concept of pain was important to assess. The findings can be used to inform the development of an assessment tool for a child's concept of pain.


  • Pate, Joshua
  • Hush, Julia
  • Hancock, Mark
  • Moseley, G
  • Butler, David S
  • Simons, Laura
  • Pacey, Verity

publication date

  • 2018