Parents' Experiences of Caring for a Child With Chronic Pain

Donald MacIver, Derek Jones, Margaret Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Involvement of parents in their children’s pain management is universally accepted as best practice, yet there is little understanding of their needs. Twelve parents of children with chronic pain were recruited to this study in which the impact of caring for a child with chronic pain was explored. All parents started in distress, and most moved into a stance that enabled them to balance the child’s needs with their own. These parents discussed “stepping back” from their child’s distress and gaining mastery over fearful emotional reactions. A minority remained in distress, finding an adaptive response to the child’s pain challenging. Catastrophic thinking, fear of pain, and the desire to fulfill a nurturing parental role led parents to place themselves continually “on call.” Findings indicate that parents might require support to care effectively for their children, and that many of the actions necessitated by children’s pain require complex and counterintuitive decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1282
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2010


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