Background : Chronic pain is associated with substantial personal suffering and societal costs and is a growing healthcare concern worldwide. While chronic pain has been extensively studied in adults, limited data exists on its prevalence and impact in adolescents. Understanding the prevalence and impact of chronic pain and pain beliefs in adolescents is crucial for developing effective prevention and treatment strategies. This study aims to estimate the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of chronic pain, and explore adolescents’ knowledge and beliefs about pain.
Methods : This is an observational cohort study of school-going adolescents aged 11 to 17 years in Central Switzerland. The study will estimate the point prevalence, characteristics (location, intensity, frequency, duration) and impact (PROMIS Pediatric Short Form v2.0 –Pain Interference Scale, PPIS) of chronic pain in school-going adolescents. We will also measure and investigate pupils’ beliefs about pain (Concept of Pain Inventory (COPI)). Data will be collected through manual and digital self-report questionnaires and from participants in primary, secondary, and high schools between September 2023 and January 2024.
Analyses : The primary analyses will utilise descriptive statistics to estimate the point prevalence, characteristics, and impact of chronic pain. Secondary analyses will analyse associations and correlations between chronic pain, impact of pain and beliefs about pain.
Outcomes : This study will provide an estimate of the prevalence, characteristics and impact of chronic pain in adolescents in Central Switzerland and a measure of adolescents’ understanding and beliefs about pain. In doing so, this study will provide insights into the scale of chronic pain as a public health concern. By understanding adolescents’ pain beliefs and their influence on pain experience, this study can contribute to the development of educational approaches to enhance adolescents’ knowledge and understanding of pain in order to optimize the prevention and treatment of chronic pain in adolescents. The findings may be useful to healthcare professionals and funders, policymakers, and researchers involved in the prevention, assessment, and treatment of pain in adolescents.