OBJECTIVE: The goal of the current study was to investigate self-reported, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a general population of young schoolchildren with recurrent pain (ie, headache, stomachache, or backache).

METHODS: The study was performed in Umeå, a university city in Sweden. All children in grades 3 and 6 were invited, and 97% participated (313 girls and 292 boys in grade 3 [mean age: 9.7 years]; 386 girls and 464 boys in grade 6 [mean age: 12.6 years]). Pain and HRQoL were measured with questionnaires.

RESULTS: Two thirds of the children reported recurrent pain (at least monthly). One third reported weekly pain, and 4 of 10 experienced pain from multiple locations. HRQoL impairment was twice as common among children with recurrent pain, compared with children without pain. All aspects of HRQoL (ie, physical, emotional, social, and school functioning and well-being) were impaired. The level of impairment was classified as considerable, especially for children who experienced pain from multiple body sites and children with weekly pain (Cohen's d = 0.6–0.8).

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that young schoolchildren with recurrent pain have considerable impairment of their HRQoL.

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