Pain coping strategies: Neonatal intensive care unit survivors in adolescence

Christ-jan van Ganzewinkel*, Jasper V. Been, Jeanne P. Dieleman, Titia Katgert, Tera Boelen-van der Loo, Sylvia M. van der Pal, Monique van Dijk, Boris W. Kramer, Peter Andriessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Data on long-term consequences of preterm birth on pain coping later in life are limited. Aim: To assess whether gestational age, birth weight and neonatal disease severity have effect on pain coping style in adolescents born preterm or with low birth weight. Study design: Observational, longitudinal study (Project On Preterm and SGA-infants, POPS-19). Subjects: We analyzed data of 537 adolescents at the age of 19 years, who were born at a gestational age <32 weeks or with a birth weight <1500 g. Outcome measures: Participants completed the pain coping questionnaire (PCQ) that assesses pain coping strategies in three higher-order factors: approach ("to deal with pain"), problem-focused avoidance ("to disengage from pain") and emotion-focused avoidance ("expression of pain"). Furthermore, their pain coping effectiveness, pain controllability and emotional reactions to pain were assessed. All participants completed an IQ test Results: Univariate analysis showed no significant correlation between length of stay, sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis and any of the higher-order factors. Approach was only correlated with IQ Problem-focused avoidance was, in the multiple regression analysis (including gestational age, IVH and IQ), only correlated with IQ For emotion-focused avoidance (including birth weight, SGA, NH, respiratory support and IQ) three independent predictors remained: NH was positively correlated, while respiratory support and IQ were negatively correlated with emotion-focused avoidance. Conclusions: Early neonatal characteristics and neonatal disease severity have limited effect on pain coping style in adolescence. Higher IQ was associated with the use of adaptive coping strategies, while maladaptive strategies were used less.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Newborn
  • Adolescents
  • Pain coping
  • Long-term follow-up
  • POPS-19

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