About 85% of children who undergo elective surgery experience pain post-operatively and many do not receive proper pain management care after discharge. Most parents lack an understanding of proper pain care management using analgesics upon discharge. Research reveals that adults rate girls as more sensitive to pain and that they display a greater amount of pain in a pediatric post-operative environment. In adulthood, women report more sensations of pain and have a higher pain tolerance, which can be attributed to physiological characteristics. Nonetheless, the social differences by which boys and girls experience pain and express their pain cannot be denied. The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between a child’s post-operative pain and the amount of analgesics given to the child, and how sex moderates this association. Parents of children ages 2-13 (59% male, 41% female) (N=112) were asked to evaluate the pain of their child and report the amount and type of analgesic use days 1, 3, and 7 post-operatively. The Parents Perceived Pain Management (PPPM) Scale was used to evaluate the child’s pain and analgesic use was self-reported. Using this scale in regression-based analysis, there was a significant association between pain and the amount of analgesic use given to the children on post-operative days 1 (ibuprofen: b = 0.24, t = 3.55, p < 0.05, acetaminophen: b = 0.22, t = 5.38, p < 0.05) and 3 (ibuprofen: b = 0.72, t = 4.81, p < 0.05, acetaminophen: b = 0.34, t = 4.44, p < 0.05); however; sex did not significantly moderate this association (ps > .05). Evidence in this study does not suggest that boys receive different post-operative analgesic care from girls as a function of pain. Future analysis should analyze factors that interact with this association like the sex of the parent that is administering analgesics and the parent’s education of analgesic usage.
Osorno, Amber M.; Fortier, Michelle A.; Kain, Zeev N.; and Jenkins, Brooke N., "Sex as a Moderator in the Relationship between Post-operative Pain and Analgesics Administered in Children Undergoing Elective Surgery" (2021). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 434.