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Support for My Video is Support for Me

A YouTube Scoping Review of Videos Including Adolescents With Chronic Pain

Forgeron, Paula A., RN, PhD*,†,‡; McKenzie, Emily, BSc Psych§; O’Reilly, Jenna, BScN*; Rudnicki, Erika, BSc; Caes, Line, PhD§

The Clinical Journal of Pain: May 2019 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p 443–450
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000693
Review Articles

Objectives: Adolescents are heavy users of social media as a venue to share experience and obtain information. Adolescents with chronic pain may be no different. Given that adolescents with chronic pain report feelings of social isolation, of being different, and lack peer understanding, social media may help them obtain social support. We conducted a scoping review of YouTube to identify how adolescents with chronic pain use this platform to connect with other adolescents.

Materials and Methods: The terms “youth with chronic pain” and “teens with chronic pain” were entered into the YouTube search bar to locate videos. Videos in English, targeted at and including an adolescent with chronic pain were included. Videos were screened for eligibility until 20 consecutive videos listed on the main page were excluded. For each included video the first 5 related videos suggested by YouTube in the sidebar were also screened for eligibility.

Results: This selection process resulted in 18 included videos, with a total of 936 viewer comments. Recurring comment themes were identified using qualitative content analysis. Video content mainly covered multidisciplinary treatment options, alternative treatments, and impact of pain on daily life. Although a variety of treatment options were discussed, details of treatment were lacking. Comments reflected the overarching message “you are not alone!” and mainly focused on providing and receiving support, sharing suffering, and revealing the impact of pain on relationships and daily life.

Discussion: Despite potential challenges associated with social media, YouTube may be a promising platform for provision of social support for adolescents with chronic pain.

*School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences

School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Department of Anesthesia, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

§Division of Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, UK

Partially supported through a University of Ottawa Research Opportunity Program (UROP) award (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) to J.O.R. and P.A.F., and an Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme by the British Psychological Society awarded to E.M. and L.C. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Paula A. Forgeron, RN, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Rd. Bureau, Room 3052, Ottawa, ON K1H 8M5 (e-mail:

Received October 2, 2018

Received in revised form December 28, 2018

Accepted January 25, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.