Behavioral and Neurochemical Aspects of Pediatric Pain

  • James W. Varni
  • Ernest R. Katz
  • Jerry Dash


Pain represents a complex psychophysiological phenomenon involving cognitive, neurochemical, sensory, affective, emotional, and motivational components which act in synergistic fashion to produce varying degrees of intensity perception and reactions differing across individuals and socioenvironmental conditions (Beecher, 1959; Melzack, 1973; Merskey, 1970; Varni, 1981a, 1981b). Pain may be described along the dimensions of quality (dull, sharp, burning), anatomical location and duration and within a threshold/tolerance perspective (unbearable). The verbal expression of pain along these linguistic dimensions represents a developmental learning process, whereby the child learns to label nociceptive impulses in the language of his/her particular cultural environment.


Sickle Cell Anemia Pain Perception Pain Behavior Opiate Receptor Recurrent Abdominal Pain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Varni
    • 1
  • Ernest R. Katz
    • 2
  • Jerry Dash
    • 2
  1. 1.Orthopaedic HospitalUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Childrens Hospital of Los AngelesUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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