DOI: 10.1097/pr9.0000000000001099 ISSN: 2471-2531

A systematic review of the biopsychosocial dimensions affected by chronic pain in children and adolescents: identifying reliable and valid pediatric multidimensional chronic pain assessment tools

Megan J. Greenough, Lindsay Jibb, Krystina B. Lewis, Tracey Bucknall, Christine Lamontagne, Melissa Demery Varin, Ashley Sokalski, Janet Elaine Squires
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Pediatric chronic pain is a complex experience that is often challenging to describe and measure. Multidimensional tools that evaluate the biopsychosocial impact of chronic pain in pediatric patients can help clinicians to prioritize and tailor interdisciplinary pain care; yet, the psychometric value and clinical utility of such tools has not yet been systematically studied in the literature. The purpose of this review was to identify multidimensional biopsychosocial tools used in pediatric chronic pain, synthesize their reliability and validity evidence, and draw on this evidence to describe the relationships between chronic pain and biopsychosocial domains. The search involved 2 phases to (1) identify eligible tools and (2) conduct a measured forward citation search of tool development articles. Tool eligibility was guided by the Multidimensional Biobehavioral Model of Pediatric Pain and study eligibility was focused on primary chronic pain diagnoses unrelated to disease. Data extraction was focused on reliability and validity evidence of eligible tools, guided by the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Results yielded 6 tools that included 64 eligible studies, highlighting 84 significant relationships between pain and functional interference across 11 biopsychosocial variables. All tools were shown to have good internal consistency and evidence of validity, primarily through relationships to other variables. Of the 6 tools, the most brief and easy to use were the most under studied. Further psychometric research is warranted for these tools to investigate their clinical utility and psychometric properties in guiding and prioritizing pain care for children and adolescents.

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