Date of Award

Fall 1979

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purposes of the investigation in this study were to: 1. identify factors which influenced patients' pain coping behaviors; 2. identify pain coping behaviors that were utilized by patients experiencing acute and chronic pain; and 3. suggest nursing strategies which enhanced these pain coping strategies of the patients. The investigation was performed through the analysis of a nursing journal kept while giving nursing care to seven patients who were experiencing acute or chronic pain. Factors identified that influenced patients' coping abilities included ordinal position , education, socio-economic status, cultural/racial background, childhood pain experiences, and childhood family support systems. The ability to cope with their present pain experience was analyzed relative to the type of pain, the patient's feelings of powerlessness about the past and present, adult family support system, personality characteristics, and coping preferences. The specific coping strategies of each patient are stated which include cognitive and behavioral strategies. Specific nursing strategies utilized to enhance pain coping abilities are suggested. These strategies involve: increasing self advocacy abilities of the patient; promoting insights into their pain experience ; and promoting the patient's own coping energy both directly and indirectly. The significance of a complete pain assessment and identification of the patient's coping strategies are discussed and suggestions made for further research to help nurses become more accountable in assisting patients who are experiencing pain.



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