Insights in the use of health care services in chronic benign pain in childhood and adolescence

Christel W Perquin, Joke A.M. Hunfeld, A A Hazebroek-Kampschreur, L W van Suijlekom-Smit, J Passchier, B W Koes, J C van der Wouden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


The utilization of health care services in children and adolescents with chronic benign pain was studied in a Dutch population sample of 254 chronic pain sufferers aged 0-18 years. Children and adolescents who had reported chronic pain (continuous or recurrent pain >3 months) in our previous prevalence study were asked to keep a 3-week diary on their pain and to fill out questionnaires on background factors, health care use and the impact of pain. Parent ratings were used for children aged 0-11 years, self-report was used in adolescents (12-18 years). In a 3-month period, in 53.4% of the cases medication was used for pain, and general practitioners and specialists were consulted for pain in 31.1% and 13.9% of subjects, respectively. Physiotherapists, psychologists and alternative health providers were visited by 11.5, 2.8, and 4.0%, respectively. In the preceding year, 6.4% had been hospitalized due to pain. The most important factors linked to utilizing medical services were gender, various pain characteristics, school absenteeism and disability. Although consulters reported to be less physically fit and less satisfied with health, their parents were better adapted to the pain, by talking and sharing, mutual support, normalization of the child and heightened self-esteem, than non-consulters. Prospective studies are needed to test causality of coping on care-seeking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-13
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Family Practice/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services/utilization
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medicine/statistics & numerical data
  • Netherlands
  • Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
  • Pain Management
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation/utilization
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Specialization

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