This study assessed the feasibility of administering a multidimensional, self-report pain assessment protocol to children in an inpatient, acute pain context, and sought insight into the interrelationships between sensory, affective, and evaluative pain dimensions.
A total of 132 children (5 to 16 y) experiencing acute pain were recruited from acute pain ward rounds or the short-stay surgical unit. A multidimensional self-report assessment protocol was administered, assessing pain intensity, pain-related affect, bother, perceived unfairness, and pain expectations (for tomorrow and in 1 wk). Duration of protocol administration was assessed and ease of administration was rated. Pain-related behaviors were rated using the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, and Consolability (FLACC) Scale.
The duration of protocol administration was <2.5 minutes, on average, for all age groups. Median ease of protocol administration was 7/10 for 5- to 7-year-olds and 8/10 for older age groups. Pain-related bother was higher for 14- to 16-year-olds, relative to younger age groups, and significantly correlated with perceived unfairness (r=0.59, P<0.01), intensity (r=0.76, P<0.01), and affect (r=0.33, P<0.05). For younger age groups, bother was significantly positively correlated only with pain intensity (rs=0.59 to 0.79, Ps<0.01) and affect (rs=0.4 to 0.71, Ps <0.05). A stepwise multiple regression analysis found multidimensional self-reported information (especially pain intensity and perceived unfairness), accounted for significant additional amount of variance, beyond that explained by age, pain duration, and observed pain behavior.
Sensory, affective, and evaluative aspects of children’s clinical, acute pain experience may be assessed using self-report tools, which provide unique and valuable information about their pain experience.