Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

W. Hobart Davies

Committee Members

Robyn Ridley, Katie Mosack, Anthony Hains, Bonnie Klein-Tasman


Childhood Pain, Non-Pharmacological, Oligoanalgesia, Pharmacological, Treatment at Home


During childhood, individuals often experience pain on a daily or nearly daily basis (American Academy of Pediatrics and American Pain Society, 2001). Pain can be treated using pharmacological or non-pharmacological techniques. This study will focus on the techniques provided by parents, since parents most often treat children's painful experiences at home (Finley, McGrath, Forward, McNeill & Fitzgerald, 1996). The processes involved in parental decision-making regarding which techniques to use include a combination demographic, availability and perceived need factors (Andersen, 1995). Seven hundred and fifty-six parents of children 6 to 17 years completed a survey regarding use and effectiveness of pharmacological and non-pharmacological techniques to alleviate pain at home, pain catastrophizing, and questions regarding dialogue with health care providers about pain alleviation techniques. Parents' use of different techniques varied due to many factors. Parents used fewer pharmacological techniques with increased worry regarding pain medications, more pharmacological techniques with increased pain catastrophizing, and fewer non-pharmacological techniques as child's age increases. Child self-administration of pain alleviation techniques increased with child's age. Parents were more likely to have spoken with their healthcare provider about pharmacological techniques than non-pharmacological techniques. This study provides information that can help providers initiate conversations and education regarding treatment options, and align recommendations for pain management with techniques that parents are likely to be using or providing alternative recommendations with more detailed instructions and support.