Chronic Pain Assessments in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review of the Selection, Administration, Interpretation, and Reporting of Unidimensional Pain Intensity Scales

Abstract

BACKGROUND Advances in pain assessment approaches now indicate which measures should be used to capture chronic pain experiences in children and adolescents. However, there is little guidance on how these tools should best be administered and reported, such as which time frames to use or how pain scores are categorised as mild, moderate, or severe. OBJECTIVE To synthesise current evidence on unidimensional, single-item pain intensity scale selection, administration, interpretation, and reporting. METHODS Databases were searched (inception: 18 January 2016) for studies in which unidimensional pain intensity assessments were used with children and adolescents with chronic pain. Ten quality criteria were developed by modifying existing recommendations to evaluate the quality of administration of pain scales most commonly used with children. RESULTS Forty-six studies met the inclusion criteria. The highest score achieved was 7 out of a possible 10 (median: 5; IQR: 4-6). Usage of scales varied markedly in administrator/completer, highest anchors, number of successive assessments, and time referent periods used. CONCLUSIONS Findings suggest these scales are selected, administered, and interpreted inconsistently, even in studies of the same type. Furthermore, methods of administration are rarely reported or justified making it impossible to compare findings across studies. This article concludes by recommending criteria for the future reporting of paediatric chronic pain assessments in studies.

DOI: 10.1155/2017/7603758

4 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Lee2017ChronicPA, title={Chronic Pain Assessments in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review of the Selection, Administration, Interpretation, and Reporting of Unidimensional Pain Intensity Scales}, author={Rebecca Rachael Lee and Amir Rashid and Daniela Ghio and Wendy Thomson and Lis Cordingley}, booktitle={Pain research & management}, year={2017} }