University of Oulu

Backström, M., Vuorimaa, H., Tarkiainen, M. et al. Pain-coping scale for children and their parents: a cross-sectional study in children with musculoskeletal pain. Pediatr Rheumatol 21, 9 (2023).

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

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Author: Backström, Maria1,2; Vuorimaa, Hanna3; Tarkiainen, Maarit4;
Organizations: 1Department of Paediatrics, Vaasa Central Hospital, Wellbeing services county of Ostrobothnia, Vaasa, Finland
2PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3The Finnish Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Pain Management and Research HUS, New Childrens Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4New Childrens Hospital, Pediatric Research Center, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Department of Biostatistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
6Department of Paediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
7Department of Paediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
8Centre for Child Health Research, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
9Department of Paediatrics, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
10Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
11Department of Paediatrics, Central Ostrobothnia Central Hospital, Kokkola, Finland
12Department of Paediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
13Department of Paediatrics, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland
14Department of Children and Adolescents, Kanta-Häme Central Hospital, Hämeenlinna, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-07-12


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.

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Series: Pediatric rheumatology
ISSN: 1546-0096
ISSN-E: 1546-0096
ISSN-L: 1546-0096
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Article number: 9
DOI: 10.1186/s12969-023-00791-1
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: State funding for university-level health research, Vaasa Central Hospital, Finland, Oulu University Hospital, Finland. The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finland. Maire Lisko säätiö, Finland. The Funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study.
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