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PAINSTORIES – Exploring the Temporal Developments in the Challenges, Barriers, and Self-Management Needs of Adolescents with Longstanding Knee Pain: A Qualitative, Retrospective Interview Study with Young Adults Experiencing Knee Pain Since Adolescence

Published:October 27, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2021.10.006

      Highlights

      • Patient education enhances rehabilitation of adolescent knee pain.
      • This study explored socio-cognitive process driving adolescents’ self-management.
      • Our data revealed that self-management followed a four-phase trajectory.
      • Acceptance was key to progressing adolescent's management of knee pain.
      • We present a model for integrating self-management in education concepts.

      ABSTRACT

      Patient education is essential to enable rehabilitation and self-management of longstanding knee pain in adolescents. Currently, a lack of insights into the socio-cognitive processes governing adolescents’ self-management remains an obstacle for enhancing treatment efficacy. This study developed a conceptual model for integrating adolescents’ challenges and barriers into future treatments. We conducted semi-structured retrospective interviews with 14 young adults (age 21–25 years) with knee pain since adolescence (9 years mean duration). Temporal developments in participants’ knee pain were captured through a memorization exercise. Data was analyzed via the General Inductive Approach. Themes were organized into a matrix, extracting a conceptual model, which was tested with eight new participants. The analysis identified seven themes. Further interpretation, via the matrix, organized these within a four-stage trajectory of; gaining awareness, knowledgeability, contextual application and reconceptualization, each with different challenges and dilemmas, participants had to overcome to progress their self-management. Testing the conceptual model, confirmed stages and highlighted acceptance as key to overcoming barriers. The study described adolescents’ integration of self-management as proximal and inquiry-based, with acceptance, driving increasingly complex management behaviors. We hypothesize future interventions may benefit from exploring supporting adolescents’ inquiries into their knee pain at different stages of the trajectory.

      Perspective

      This study presents a conceptual model and vocabulary for optimizing patient education concepts, to target the challenges, barriers and needs of adolescents with knee pain at different stages of their mastery journey. We believe our findings may inform reflections among clinicians and researchers, and development of more effective education interventions.

      Key words

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