Master of Science
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Walton, David M.
Many of our understandings of how children conceptualize and cope with chronic pain are drawn from adult accounts or extrapolated from research in adult populations. Accordingly, there is scant knowledge relating to children’s own experiences of chronic pain and coping. This study begins to address this gap by piloting a methodology combining arts-based methods with semi-structured interviews to generate data with children aged 6-13 years. Participants with chronic pain were invited to draw and/or photograph what represents a ‘good pain day’ and ‘a bad pain day’, before engaging in a tailored, semi-structured interview. Results, interpreted using a constructivist lens, contribute modest preliminary insight into children’s understandings of chronic pain and coping, and lend support to the quality of data generated using this methodology. Insights pertaining to what worked well, and lessons learned regarding the methodology are contained herein for reference prior to producing scaled-up versions of this work.
Summary for Lay Audience
Most of what we know about the ways children understand living and coping with chronic pain relies on adult accounts or drawn from research about pain in adult populations. Accordingly, there exists little research examining what it’s like to live with chronic pain from a child’s perspective. This study begins to address this gap in pain-focused research by trialling a new methodology to conduct research with children with lived experience of chronic pain. This study combines art-based methods (visual art and photography) with semi-structured interviews tailored to each participant, in order to present preliminary knowledge of children’s own experiences of chronic pain and coping. For this study, three participants with chronic pain aged 6-13 years were invited to draw and/or photograph what comes to mind or represents a 'good pain day’ as well as ‘a day when my pain is worse than usual', prior to discussing their perspectives in a tailored semi-structured interview. The study results lend support to the quality and type of data that can be generated using this methodology with children with chronic pain and share these insights as a preliminary step towards contributing to the lack of knowledge of children’s experiences of chronic pain.
Ferreira, Kristina P., "Piloting a study to examine children’s understandings of chronic pain and coping" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8656.