Author(s): Twiddy H.; Hanna J.; Haynes L.

Source: British Journal of Pain; Aug 2017; vol. 11 (no. 3); p. 108-118

Publication Date: Aug 2017

Publication Type(s): Article

Available in full text at British Journal of Pain –  from Highwire Press

Abstract:Background: Emerging adulthood (18-30 years), in the Western world, is often a time of identity development and exploration, focusing on areas of work, relationships and education. Individuals with chronic illnesses, such as chronic pain, may be more vulnerable to facing challenges during this time. This study aims to investigate the needs of young adults (YAs) attending a tertiary level National Health Service (NHS) Pain Management Programme (PMP) Service in the United Kingdom; exploring how these needs may translate on to clinical assessment and the delivery of rehabilitation interventions. Method: This is a descriptive qualitative study influenced by phenomenological approaches. YA with a diagnosis of chronic pain were recruited and assigned to one of four focus groups facilitated by a clinical psychologist and occupational therapist. A semi-structured interview guide was used to help facilitate the group discussion. Results: Qualitative analysis identified four key themes in understanding the needs of YAs with chronic pain: (1) thwarted opportunities, (2) peer separation, (3) perceived illness validity in the context of age and (4) dependency/parental enmeshment. Conclusions: The emerging adulthood literature provides a valuable framework for examining a normal developmental trajectory and highlights the relevance of age-related processes in YAs with chronic pain. The idealisation of opportunity and the role of perception in this developmental phase both appear relevant. It is significant that emotional stability is not yet established in emerging adulthood and links to unhelpful management strategies that may be differentiated from older populations are identified.

Copyright © 2017, © The British Pain Society 2017.

Database: EMBASE