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The cognitive signature of biased information-processing in paediatric chronic pain: lessons from developmental psychopathology and emerging findings from paediatric chronic pain Seminar

15:00 - 16:00
25 October 2017
University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Building 44 (Shackleton), Room 1041 (L/T A)

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

Event details

Visiting Speaker Seminar on behalf of CCCAHP

Chronic pain, defined as continuous or recurrent pain lasting for three months or more, is common in children and adolescents. In a significant number of children and adolescents with chronic pain, the pain can be disruptive with significant personal and economic costs. While psychological interventions have a promising evidence-base in children and adolescents with pain – with meta-analytic data reporting moderately-sized benefits in reducing pain intensity (compared with control conditions after treatment) – their benefits at follow-up and in reducing disability and other indices of distress such as depression and anxiety are less apparent. A more systematic understanding of psychological factors that contribute to pain-associated disability and distress, which are not currently being targeted in existing interventions could provide important insights into ways of improving these therapeutic tools. This talk will consider how information-processing variables can contribute to explanations and the management of paediatric chronic pain experiences. This talk will first consider how different information-processing biases can contribute to distress and disability in young people with anxiety disorders, another threat-based psychological condition, and then, adults with chronic pain. It is argued that while adult chronic pain findings hold relevance for models of paediatric chronic pain, findings from anxiety suggest that when information-processing factors become mature and stable in their associations with phenotypes, and how their associations with behaviour can vary with developmental age means that independent study of these variables to explain pain during childhood and adolescence is crucial. Thus, data investigating biased attention and appraisals in paediatric chronic pain and pain-associated vulnerability are presented. Finally, data on how we can manipulate these biases to change pain-associated functioning is presented.

Speaker information

Dr Jennifer Lau, King's College London. Dr. Lau completed her doctorate at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London. After a brief visiting fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Lau came to Oxford as University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in Experimental Psychology. Having served in this post from 2007 until 2013, Dr. Lau is now based at the IoPPN where she oversees the work of the REDD lab. Dr. Lau’s research interests lie in understanding mood and anxiety problems in children and young people. In particular, Dr. Lau is interested in investigating the neural and cognitive mechanisms by which genetic and environmental risk factors interact to influence atypical emotional and social development. More recently, Dr. Lau’s work has focused on using knowledge from basic science approaches to facilitate new interventive tools.

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