Teachers' understanding of chronic pain and its impact on students' functioning

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.S. in School Psychology


School of Education and Health Sciences


Advisor: Susan Davies


Chronic pain is a widespread and complex concern, which affects students academically, emotionally, and socially. Teachers' knowledge about meeting the academic, emotional, and social needs of children with chronic pain needs is essential. Previous findings indicate that attention and relief from responsibility may reinforce and maintain functional disability; however, teachers may not be properly educated about ways to help students manage chronic pain. This study assessed regular education teachers' understanding of chronic pain. One hundred and five teachers from a midwestern school district completed a survey rating their understanding of chronic pain. The majority of teachers reported no knowledge about chronic pain and had not received any formal training. Most of the teachers, however, indicated that they have previously had a student with chronic pain whose academic, emotional, and social functioning was somewhat affected. Teachers did not vary significantly in their perceptions of impact of pain on functioning based on their school type. Future research should focus on specific chronic pain conditions and the effectiveness of interventions to improve teacher knowledge of working with students with chronic pain. School systems should ensure that teachers understand medical conditions associated with chronic pain in order to provide effective interventions.


Teacher-student relationships, Chronic pain Social aspects, Sick children Education, Students Health and hygiene Social aspects

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author