Possibilities of reducing pain in children on the psychosocial level

Authors: K. Kicková;  L. Lacinová
Authors‘ workplace: Institut výzkumu dětí, mládeže a rodiny, Fakulta sociálních studií, Masarykova univerzita, Brno? vedúci pracoviska prof. PhDr. P. Macek, CSc.
Published in: Čes-slov Pediat 2015; 70 (4): 232-238.
Category: Review


Presented study provides a brief overview of the knowledge about the specific features of pain experience in children, factors affecting this pain experience and possibilities of pain reduction at the psychosocial level. Pain is a complex perceptual experience which is manifested at the biological, psychological and social level. For the child, pain is a significant source of stress and that is why it is important to reduce pain intensity, using every possible way.

Many factors influencing experienced pain intensity in children are discussed in this review. These include developmental level, past experiences with pain, behavioral patterns taken in the family, approach of medical staff and relatives during painful procedures, the attachment between mother and child or perceived painfull procedure-related fear and anxiety.

In the last section, methods that are effective in reducing experienced pain are reviewed, as for example explanation, relaxation, conversation, demonstration of procedure, presence and physical contact with a parent or influence of pleasant environment. The review concludes with recommendations for practice.

Key words:
pain in children, factors influencing experience of pain, psychosocial level of pain, pain reduction


1. Liossi Ch. Management of paediatric procedure-related cancer pain. Pain Reviews 1999; 6: 279–302.

2. Noel M, Chambers CT, McGrath P, et al. The role of state anxiety in children´s memories for pain. J Pediatr Psychol 2012; 37 (5): 567–579.

3. Holm S, Ljungman G, Åsenlöf P, Söderlund A. How children and adolescents in primary care cope with pain and the biopsychosocial factors that correlate with pain-related disability. Acta Paediat 2013; 102 (10): 1021–1026.

4. Simons J. An international study on innovations in the management of children´s pain. Int Pract Dev J 2013; 3 (2): 1–16.

5. Howard RF. Chronic pain problems in children and young people. Contin Educ Anaesth Crit Care Pain 2011; 1 (6): 219–223.

6. Kortesluoma RL, et al. „You just have to make the pain go away“ – Children‘s experiences of pain management. Pain Manag Nurs 2008; 9 (4): 143–149.

7. Nešpor K. Bolest se dá zvládnout: Jak mírnit bolest vlastními silami. Praha: Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, 2004.

8. Mareš J. Dítě a bolest. Praha: Grada, 1997.

9. Whitfield MF, Grunau RE, Petrie J. Children´s judgements about pain at age 8–10 years: Do extremely low birthweight children differ from full birthweight peers? J Child Psychol Psychiat 1998; 39 (4): 587–594.

10. Van Zijl K. The Utilization of Gestalt Play Therapy Concepts and Techniques with the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Patient. Master of diaconology (master work). Pretoria: University of South Africa, 2008.

11. Esteve R, Marquina-Aponte V. Children´s pain perspectives. Child: Care, Health and Development 2011; 38 (3): 441–452.

12. Piaget J. Psychologie inteligence. Praha: Portál, 1999.

13. Shevington SM. Psychology of Pain. West Sussex: John Willey and Sons Ltd., 1995.

14. Franck LS, Sheikh A, Oulton K. What helps when it hurts: Children´s views on pain relief. Child: Care, Health and Development 2008; 34 (4): 430–438.

15. Pincus D, Sheikh AA. Imagery for Pain Relief: A Scientifically Grounded Guidebook for Clinicians. New York: Taylor and Francis Group, 2009.

16. Craig F, Goldman A. Palliative care for children. Detský hospic Plamienok: Educational program in pediatric palliative care 2009. [cit. 16092014] Dostupné z: http://education.plamienok.sk/download.php?pub=palliative%20medicine.pdf&c=6&t=texthttp://education.plamienok.sk/download.php?pub=palliative%20medicine.pdf&c=6&t=text.

17. Green M. Care of the dying child. Pediatrics 1967; 40 (3): 492–497.

18. Grinyer A, Thomas C. The importance of place of death in young adults with terminal cancer. Mortality 2004; 9 (2): 114–130.

19. Sahler OJZ, et al. Factors influencing pediatric interns relationship with dying children and their parents. Pediatrics 1981; 67 (2): 207–217.

20. McMurtry CM, Chambers CT, McGrath PJ, Asp E. When „don´t worry“ communicates fear: Children´s perception of parental reassurance and distraction during a painful medical procedure. Pain 2010; 150 (1): 52–58.

21. Melamed BG, Siegel LJ. Reduction of anxiety in children facing hospitalization and surgery by use of filmed modeling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1975; 43 (4): 511–521.

22. Jay SM, Elliott CH, Katz E, Siegel SE. Cognitive - behavioral and pharmacologic interventions for children´s distress during painful medical procedures. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1987; 55 (6): 860–865.

23. McMurtry CM. Pediatric needle procedures: Parent-child interactions, child fear, and evidence-based treatment. Can Psychol 2013; 54 (1): 75–79.

24. Noel M, McMurtry CM, Chambers CT, McGrath PC. Children´s memory for painful procedures: The relationship of pain intensity, anxiety, and adult behaviors to subsequent recall. J Pediatr Psychol 2013; 35 (6): 626–636.

25. Suchocka L. Človek v situáciách bolesti. Psychologická analýza. In: Porubčanová P (ed). Hospicová a paliatívna starostlivosť. Zborník z II. ročníka Medzinárodnej konferencie hospicovej a paliatívnej starostlivosti. Bratislava: SAP, 2004: 31–40.

26. Sweet SD, McGrath P. Relative importance of mothers´ versus medical staff´s behavior in the prediction of infant immunization pain behavior. J Pediatr Psychol 1998; 23 (4): 249–256.

27. Watt MC, et al. Childhood learning history. Origins of adult pain anxiety. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly 2010; 24 (3): 198–212.

28. Gimbler-Berglund I, Ljusegren G, Enskar K. Factors influencing pain management in children. Pediatric Nursing 2008; 20 (10): 21–24.

29. Evans S, Tsao JCI, Zeltner LK. Relationship of child perception of maternal pain to children´s laboratory and non laboratory pain. Pain research and management: J Canadian Pain Society 2008; 13 (3): 211–218.

30. Chromá J, Sikorová L. Bolest u dětí s těžkým kombinovaným postižením. Bolest 2014; 17 (2): 52–56.

31. Hunfeld JA, et al. Physically unexplained chronic pain and its impact on children and their families: The mother´s perception. Psychol Psychother 2002; 75 (3): 251–260.

32. Lipani TA, Walker LS. Children´s appraisal and coping with pain: Relation to maternal ratings of worry and restriction in family activities. J Pediatr Psychol 2006; 31 (7): 667–673.

33. Bowlby J. Vazba: teorie kvality raných vztahů mezi matkou a dítětem. Praha: Portál, 2010.

34. Nagayama K. Development of reactions to pain of inoculation in child-ren and their mothers. Int J Behav Dev 1999; 23 (3): 731–746.

35. Moscato D, Regine A, Ribaudo F, Vignali A. Mothers and pain: The effect of a mother´s pain experience on the child. Journal of Headache and Pain 2002; 1 (2): 111–118.

36. Goldman A. Care of the Dying Child. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

37. Walsh TM, McGrath PJ, Symons DK. Attachment dimensions and young children´s response to pain. Pain Research and Management: J Canadian Pain Society 2008; 13 (1): 33–41.

38. McWilliams LA, Murphy PDJ, Bailey SJ. Associations between adult attachment dimensions and attitudes toward pain behaviour. Pain research and Management: J Canadian Pain Society 2010; 15 (6): 378–384.

Neonatology Paediatrics General practitioner for children and adolescents
Forgotten password

Don‘t have an account?  Create new account

Forgotten password

Enter the email address that you registered with. We will send you instructions on how to set a new password.


Don‘t have an account?  Create new account