Psychological aspects of painful medical conditions in children. I. Developmental aspects and assessment

John V Lavigne*, Michael J. Schulein, Yoon S. Hahn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The assessment and development of pain in children is reviewed in the first part of a two-part series. Assessment of pain in children has relied on self-report measures that have included visual analogue procedures using concrete stimuli for ratings. Behavioral assessment procedures are more sophisticated, but research on behavioral assessment of pediatric pain has begun to emergy only recently. There has been very little research on the developmental aspects of pain tolerance and pain threshold in children. There are preliminary indications that children's thoughts and attitudes about pain may change with age in a manner that contributes to more intense feelings of pain in adolescence than childhood. Children undergoing painful medical procedures show declining emotional outbursts with age and increasing signs of self-control and muscular rigidity. Possibilities for integrating the study of the developmental aspects of pain with social learning theory, cognitive developmental theory, and the psychology of physical symptom perception are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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