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JOINT CCCAHP SEMINAR - Making Sense of Pain: Applying a theoretical framework to adolescents’ pain perceptions Seminar

15:00 - 16:00
7 February 2017
Building 44 (Shackleton), Room 3095

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 02380 595150 or email .

Event details

Could we use the common sense model of self-regulation to explore experiences of specific health populations? The common sense model of self-regulation of health and illness (SRM) addresses personal beliefs or mental representations—whether medically sound or unsubstantiated— that a person holds about a health issue. In this seminar the speakers will discuss the application of the SRM as a theoretical framework to understand two very different conditions and patient groups. Daniela will speak about the experiences of adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Teresa will talk about her work with cancer survivors suffering with persistent fatigue after treatment.


Background: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a long-term inflammatory arthritis which starts before the age of 16. There are wide variations in experiences of adolescents with JIA, including the effects of the condition on social and intellectual development, self-management, psychological and physical functioning. The aim of this work was to assess the suitability of the SRM for understanding adolescents’ experiences of JIA.

Methods: Twenty-one participants aged between 11-16 years were recruited from a national cohort of JIA patients. Data collection was undertaken using cognitive interviewing. Adolescents’ ways of coping with JIA were investigated using the somatic experience module of a computer-based interview. Framework analysis was conducted to identify domains used by adolescents to conceptualise their JIA.

Results: Adolescents’ responses to having JIA were driven by their emotional and cognitive responses to symptoms (in this case pain) rather than illness beliefs per se. The need to preserve their social identity as ‘normal’ was a coping goal shared across the sample, however different strategies were identified, either to focus on maintaining normal activities or to attend to pain directly. Adolescents who focused on their pain held a more negative emotional representation, reported higher pain and lower functionality compared to adolescents who tried to maintain normality.

Conclusions: Modifications to the model are recommended to take into account the role of social identity in the process of developing illness behaviours as well as the importance of a symptom driven conceptualisation of the condition.



Speaker information

Dr Daniela Ghio,Dr Daniela Ghio is a Research Fellow within Health Psychology at the University of Southampton. Daniela is currently involved in the development of an intervention on improving screening and treating malnutrition in older adults as part of the STREAM (Screening and TREAting Malnutrition) project. Daniela also works in the School for Primary Care Research, on the Healthy Paths project, an internet intervention for emotional distress for primary care patients. The project aims to explore the experiences of the patients utilising Healthy Paths and accessing psychological help through e-health tools.

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