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How adolescents experience and cope with pain in daily life: a qualitative study on ways to cope and the use of over-the-counter analgesics
  1. Per Lagerløv1,
  2. Elin Olaug Rosvold1,
  3. Tanja Holager2,
  4. Sølvi Helseth3,4
  1. 1The Medical Faculty, Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Regional Medicines Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre, The University Hospital Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Per Lagerløv; per.lagerlov{at}


Objective The aim of this study was to describe how different adolescents experience and manage pain in their daily life, with a focus on their use of over-the-counter analgesics. More specifically, the aim was to explore different patterns among the adolescents in pain descriptions, in the management of pain, in relationships with others, and in their daily life.

Design Qualitative semistructured interviews on experiences with pain, pain management and involvement of family and friends during pain. Pain and stress management strategies and attachment theory will be in focus for interpretations.

Participants and setting 25 participants aged 15–16-years from six different junior high schools, both genders, with and without immigrant background were interviewed at their local schools in Norway.

Results We identified 4 groups of adolescents with similarities in attitudes and management strategies to pain: ‘pain is manageable’, ‘pain is communicable’, ‘pain is inevitable’ and ‘pain is all over’. The participants within each group differed in how they engaged their parents in pain; how they perceived, communicated and managed pain; and how they involved emotions and used over-the-counter analgesics.

Conclusions The adolescents’ different involvement with the family during pain related to their pain perception and management. Knowledge of the different ways of approaching pain is important when supporting adolescents and may be a subject for further research on the use of over-the-counter analgesics in the family.

  • Adolescents
  • Over-the-counter analgesics
  • Coping strategies
  • Attachment theory
  • Stress management
  • Qualitative study

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