The Pivotal Role of Pediatric Psychology in Chronic Pain: Opportunities for Informing and Promoting New Research and Intervention in a Shifting Healthcare Landscape

  • Sarah Nelson
  • Rachael CoakleyEmail author
Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Headache and Pain (D Buse, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Headache and Pain


Purpose of Review

In the context of new efforts to formulate more comprehensive diagnostic and treatment processes for chronic pain conditions, this review aims to provide an overview of some of the most salient developments in the diagnosis and clinical treatment of pediatric chronic pain and to delineate the current and future role of clinical pediatric psychologists in these efforts.

Recent Findings

The acceptance and promotion of the multidisciplinary approach to pediatric pain management has had an especially significant impact on the field of pediatric psychology. Though chronic pain was historically conceptualized as a biomedical problem, psychology is increasingly viewed as a routine, integral, and component part of treatment. With this evolving biopsychosocial paradigm, pediatric psychology is poised to help shape the development of this field, contributing to emerging conceptual and diagnostic frameworks via consultation, research, clinical care, and education.


This review discusses the role of pediatric psychologists as collaborators in emerging diagnostic and assessment frameworks, leaders in pain-related research, drivers of clinical care, and educators for providers, patients, and the lay public. With increased opportunities to enhance the conceptualization and treatment of pediatric pain, pediatric psychologists have an important role to play in reducing the prevalence and persistence of pediatric pain.


Pediatric psychology Pediatric pain Current practice Healthcare 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Sarah Nelson and Rachael Coakley declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain MedicineBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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