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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The arthritic pain experience of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis Riding, S. Barbara


This study was designed to investigate the experience of having arthritic pain from the children's perspective. Previous research on how Canadian children perceive and manage arthritic pain and how it affects their daily lives is nonexistent. Therefore the purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore and describe the arthritic pain experience of school age children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and to understand the impact/influence of various factors on the construction of that experience. Ten children, aged 10 to 13 years, with either early (at 2 to 4 years) or late (at 7 to 11 years) onset arthritis participated in this study. Descriptive data were obtained during two open-ended in depth interviews with the children in their homes. Using content analysis, data were analyzed for themes and their elements. An analytical framework of themes and their elements was developed that reflected the children's descriptions of and explanations for arthritic pain in the context of their day to day in the context of their day to day living with arthritis, both in the past and currently. The children perceived pain to be synonymous with arthritis and the mediating factor in how they functioned. They described arthritic pain in relation to distinguishing factors: intensity, duration, and frequency. Intermittent arthritic pain was attributed to cessation of medications, arthritis "flare-ups," inactivity, and activity. A current concern for most children was pain attributed to activity because it meant limitations in activities with peers. The children identified strategies they used to manage pain and cope with pain's unpredictability. The findings of this study were discussed in relation to selected research studies that either supported or refuted the findings of this study. Implications for nursing practice and research were addressed.

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