From Being Othered to Moving Forward Together: Perceptions of Adolescents with Chronic Pain About Peer Support

Linkiewich, Delane
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University of Guelph

Social challenges are common for adolescents with chronic pain. Group-based peer support for adolescents with chronic pain could be a promising intervention; however, no studies have focused on the peer support needs of this population. The present study addressed this gap in the literature. Fourteen adolescents with chronic pain completed an interview and demographics questionnaire. Interviews were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Adolescents with chronic pain feel misunderstood and under supported by their peers without pain leading to feeling “othered”, having to explain their pain, and not talking about their pain to their peers. Adolescents expressed that peer support would help them feel understood because of shared knowledge and experiences helping to create a feeling of belonging. Participants desire peer support and highlighted expected immediate, short-, and long-term benefits, including learning from their peers and developing friendships. Study findings suggest that adolescents with chronic pain may benefit from peer support.

Adolescents, Peer support, Qualitative methods, Patient-oriented research, Chronic pain, Social functioning