Teachers’ experiences of adolescents’ pain in everyday life: a qualitative study
Objectives More adolescents report pain now than previously. In Norway, episodic pain problems have been reported by 60% of children and adolescents aged 8–18 years, with 21% reporting duration of pain of more than 3 months. Since adolescents spend much time at school, the attitude and behaviour of teachers play important roles regarding the experience of pain felt by adolescents in everyday life. Yet research on how teachers perceive the pain experienced by adolescents in a school setting is limited. We therefore seek to gain insight to teachers’ classroom experiences with (1) adolescent's self-reported pain symptoms; (2) adolescents management of their pain and (3) how to help adolescents manage their pain. Setting Teachers in 5 junior high schools in Norway representing municipalities in 3 rural areas and 2 cities. Research design A qualitative study with an explorative design comprising 5 focus group interviews. Each group consisted of 3–8 junior high school teachers. A semistructured interview guide was used to cover the issues. The transcribed text was analysed with qualitative content analysis. Participants 22 teachers participated (5 men, 17 women; age range 29–62 years) with teaching experience ranging from 3 to nearly 40 years. Results The main theme describing the experience of teachers with adolescents’ pain in everyday life is that pain and management of pain is a social, physical and psychological interwoven phenomenon. Through empirical analyses, 3 subcategories emerged: (1) everyday pain—expressing strenuous life; (2) managing pain—escaping struggle and (3) strategies of teachers—support and normalisation. Conclusions Teachers have a biopsychosocial understanding and approach to pain experienced by adolescents. This understanding influences the role of teachers as significant others in the lives of adolescents with regard to pain and management of their pain in a school setting.