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Pain. 1996 Oct;67(2-3):469-74.

Mothers' attitudes and behavior toward medicating children's pain.

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Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Studies on physicians', patients', and the public's attitudes toward using opioid pain medications in adults have shown that negative attitudes are associated with decreased prescription/use of opioids in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Most of the pain that children experience is managed by parents, yet little is known about parents' attitudes toward using medication to treat children's pain. A 20-item scale was developed to examine mothers' attitudes to using acetaminophen to treat children's pain. During a structured telephone interview, 298 mothers responded to the attitude scale items. Mothers also responded to questions concerning their medicating behaviors. Mothers were concerned about tolerance and side effects from acetaminophen. Principal components factor analysis on the acetaminophen scale extracted four factors which accounted for 59% of the variance in responses. Mothers with more positive attitudes toward acetaminophen were more likely to medicate for common childhood pains and would give medication at lower levels of pain than would mothers with less positive attitudes. However, the moderate internal reliability of the attitude subscales somewhat limits the generalizability of these findings. Further scale development will be necessary in order to clarify mothers' attitudes and the relationship between their attitudes and behaviors. Studies using different pain contexts, and using fathers and older children and adolescents as respondents, will add to our understanding of attitudes toward using medication for children's pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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