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Families and pain 

Families and pain
Families and pain

Kathryn A. Birnie

, Katelynn E. Boerner

, and Christine T. Chambers

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date: 29 July 2021

The family has long been acknowledged as an important social context where children learn about and receive support for their pain. When a child is in pain, it is the family who is responsible for the initial pain assessment and seeking appropriate evaluation and care. Families may inadvertently encourage the expression of pain and play a critical role in influencing their children’s ability to cope with pain, both positively and negatively. Having a child in pain can also pose significant personal, familial, and economic strains. Therefore, consideration of the family is absolutely critical in the understanding of factors involved in children’s acute and chronic pain experiences (McGrath, 2008). A concentration of research has continued since the last comprehensive review on the topic was published (Chambers, 2003). This chapter considers relevant theoretical models and summarizes current major research themes regarding the role of the family in both acute and chronic paediatric pain. Two illustrative case examples are provided and key areas for future research are identified.

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