Date of Conferral







Silva Bigatti


Chronic pain is a significant problem in the U.S. pediatric population, conservatively estimated to affect 15% to 20% of children. Few studies have focused on coping strategies African American children use to manage chronic pain. The purpose of this study was to examine coping strategies used by African American children and adolescents ages 11 to 18 years suffering from chronic pain and to examine gender and age differences in this population. The gate control theory provided the framework for the study. The Pain Coping Questionnaire was used to measure coping strategies in a convenience sample of 44 children and adolescents recruited from pain clinics and online pain support groups. Descriptive statistics indicated that active coping was used most often, and emotion-focused coping was used least often. Analyses of variance indicated that age was positively related with cognitive distraction, that male participants used problem-solving more often than female participants, and that female participants sought out social support and used internalizing/catastrophizing more often that male participants. Findings may be used to improve assessment and management of chronic pain by providing mental health professionals and doctors with a better understanding of African American children and adolescents' coping strategies.