Developmental Contributions to the Assessment of Children’s Pain: Conceptual and Methodological Implications

  • Lizette Peterson
  • Cynthia Harbeck
  • Janet Farmer
  • Michelle Zink


Begin by acknowledging pain as a concept, rather than an entity. Any given pain may or may not have a known physical basis, may or may not be exacerbated by anxiety or depression, may have a sudden or gradual onset, may be acute or chronic, and may possess a variety of qualities such as piercing, throbbing, burning, or aching (Johnson, 1988). Next, accept that pain is a multifaceted concept including sensory, affective, and evaluative components (Melzack & Torgerson, 1971). Pain is difficult to study even in adults, who experience few changes in sensory, affective, and perceptual functioning. Pain is subjective in nature and can be observed only through verbal descriptions of the sufferer and a limited number of nonverbal responses (Beyer, DeGood, Ashley, & Russell, 1983).


Pain Perception Painful Stimulus Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Recurrent Abdominal Pain Painful Event 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lizette Peterson
  • Cynthia Harbeck
  • Janet Farmer
  • Michelle Zink

There are no affiliations available

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