Pain Research and Management

Pain Research and Management / 2009 / Article

Review | Open Access

Volume 14 |Article ID 410725 | 6 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2009/410725

Assessing Pain in Infancy: The Caregiver Context

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pain is largely accepted as being influenced by social context. Unlike most other developmental stages throughout the lifespan, infancy is marked by complete dependence on the caregiver. The present paper discusses the primary importance of understanding the caregiver context when assessing infant pain expression.OBJECTIVES: Based on a review of research from both the infant pain and infant mental health fields, three lines of evidence are presented. First, pain assessment is as subjective as the pain experience itself. Second, assessors must be cognizant of the relationship between infant pain expression, and caregiver sensitivity and emotional displays. Finally, larger systemic factors of the infant (such as caregiver relationship styles, caregiver psychological distress or caregiver acculturative stress) directly impact on infant expression.CONCLUSIONS: As a result of infants’ inability to give a self-report of their pain experience, caregivers play a crucial role in assessing the pain and taking appropriate action to manage it. Caregiver behaviours and predispositions have been shown to have a significant impact on infant pain reactivity and, accordingly, should not be ignored when assessing the infant in pain.

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


More related articles

320 Views | 328 Downloads | 50 Citations
 PDF  Download Citation  Citation
 Order printed copiesOrder

Related articles

We are committed to sharing findings related to COVID-19 as quickly and safely as possible. Any author submitting a COVID-19 paper should notify us at help@hindawi.com to ensure their research is fast-tracked and made available on a preprint server as soon as possible. We will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted articles related to COVID-19. Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions.