What Do We Mean by “Older Adults' Persistent Pain Self-management”? A Concept Analysis

Carrie Stewart, Pat Schofield, Alison M. Elliott, Nicola Torrance, Suzanne Leveille

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background. No standard definition exists for the concept “persistent pain self-management” or how it should be defined in relation to older adults. Poorly defined concepts can result in misunderstandings in the clinical setting and can hinder research through difficulties identifying or measuring the concept.
Objective. To ascertain attributes, referents, antecedents, and consequences of the concept older adults’ persistent pain self-management and develop a theoretical definition.
Design. Rodgers evolutionary model of concept analysis was used to systematically analyze articles from the academic and grey literature (N = 45). Data were extracted using standardized extraction forms and analyzed using thematic analysis.
Findings. This concept was discussed in three ways: as an intervention, in reference to everyday behaviors, and as an outcome. Five defining attributes
were identified: multidimensional process, personal development, active individuals, symptom response, and symptom control. Patients’ perceived
need and ability to manage pain with support from others is necessary for pain self-management to occur. Numerous physical, psychological, and social health consequences were identified. A theoretical definition is discussed.
Conclusions. Our findings have clarified existing use and understanding regarding the concept of older adults’ persistent pain self-management. We
have identified three areas for future development: refinement of the attributes of this concept within the context of older adults, an exploration of how
providers can overcome difficulties supporting older adults’ persistent pain self-management, and a clarification of the overall theoretical framework of
older adults’ persistent pain self-management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages12
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Cited By :6


  • Aged
  • Pain
  • Chronic Pain
  • Pain Management
  • Self management
  • Concepts
  • Concept development


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