An important part of providing pain science education is to first assess baseline knowledge and beliefs about pain, thereby identifying misconceptions and establishing individually-tailored learning objectives. The Concept of Pain Inventory (COPI) was developed to support this need. This study aimed to characterize the concept of pain in care-seeking youth and their parents, to examine its clinical and demographic correlates, and to identify conceptual gaps.
Materials and Methods:
Following an initial interdisciplinary evaluation, a cohort of 127 youth aged 8 to 18 years, and their parents, completed a series of questionnaires.
Parents had slightly higher COPI scores than youth did, reflecting parents’ greater alignment with contemporary pain science. The moderate positive association with older age among youth (r=.32) suggests that COPI is sensitive to cognitive development and life experiences. Youth and parent COPI responses were weakly associated (r=0.24), highlighting the importance of targeting the concept of pain in both groups. For both parents and youth, ‘Learning about pain can help you feel less pain’ was the least endorsed concept. This conceptual ‘gap’ is a key point of intervention that could potentially lead to greater engagement with multidisciplinary pain treatment.
The COPI appears useful for identifying conceptual gaps or ‘sticking points’; this may be an important step to pre-emptively address misconceptions about pain through pain science education. Future research should determine the utility of COPI in assessing and treating youth seeking care for pain. The COPI may be a useful tool for tailoring pain science education to youth and their parents.