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The Relation of Social Functioning to School Impairment Among Adolescents With Chronic Pain

Simons, Laura E. PhD; Logan, Deirdre E. PhD; Chastain, Laura BS; Stein, Michelle MA

The Clinical Journal of Pain: January 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 16-22
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e3181b511c2
Original Articles

Objectives To further our understanding of social functioning in children with chronic pain, and particularly how social functioning relates to school impairment in this population.

Methods This study involved 126 adolescents (12 to 17 y) evaluated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Adolescents completed measures assessing social functioning, pain, physical limitations, somatic symptoms, and school impairment.

Results Lower social functioning scores were significantly associated with pain, physical limitations, somatic symptoms, and school impairment. Social functioning mediated the relations between adolescents' pain experience (ie, pain, physical symptoms, physical limitations) and school impairment.

Discussions These findings highlight the importance of assessing and addressing social functioning in youth with chronic pain. Future research targeting school impairment should include evaluating the potential role that peer difficulties may play.

Pain Treatment Service Pediatric, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston; and Harvard Medical School, Waltham, MA

Reprints: Laura E. Simons, PhD, Pain Treatment Service, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

Received for publication December 10, 2008; revised June 22, 2009; accepted June 26, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.