Collection 2005


Written by Aurora SZENTAGOTAI, Catrinel CRĂCIUN on . Posted in Volume IX, Nr. 1


The current study aimed to explore children's understanding of pain. Based upon Leventhal's model of illness representation, we considered pain representation to include five components: identity, causality, timeline, consequences and control. The first objective of the study was to identify and describe the five components of pain representation in children. The second objective was to assess children's representations of pain using age and previous experience with pain as criteria. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect the data, and phenomenological analysis to interpret them. A coding system based on the categories included in Leventhal's model was used. 19 participants were included in the study: 11 were children from a clinical environment (with previous pain experience) and 8 from a non-clinical environment (without clinical experience). We included children of different ages as follows: 10 preschoolers (3-6 year-olds) and 9 school-age children (7-11 year-olds). Results showed that school-age children in our sample had a more sophisticated representation of pain than preschoolers, and that pain experience was more important for the development of a complex representation in both age groups. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Keywords: pain representation, illness representation, children