Psychological predictors of chronic pain in paediatric populations


  • Dr Nuno Ferreira

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

Chronic pain (eg rheumatoid arthritis, migraines) is a common experience among young people seen by paediatricians. It can lead to disability and impaired functioning and quality of life. Research has shown that psychosocial risk factors (fear of pain, catastrophising, parental catastrophising or avoidance) offer a better explanation of the impact chronic pain has on disability and functioning in young people than pain severity alone. Evidence from adult pain research has proposed acceptance of pain as a significant protective factor in chronic pain, but the value of this alongside previously identified risk factors has not been investigated in paediatric populations. Most research on paediatric chronic pain has focused on discrete populations even though it is described as a trans-diagnostic phenomenon.

This project aims to investigate the role of acceptance and parental coping styles as protective and risk factors in the adaptation to chronic pain in mixed paediatric populations. It also aims to provide a base of evidence to develop acceptance-based intervention programmes for young people and parents aimed at improving functioning and quality of life in young people with chronic pain.