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BACKGROUND: Counter to paediatric pain literature that typically highlights the deleterious impacts associated with adolescent chronic pain, evidence suggests that some adolescents flourish in their experience of pain. This study sought to explore how adolescents experience, understand and perceive flourishing while living with chronic pain. METHODS: Twenty-four adolescents aged 11-24 years were recruited via clinical and online settings. All adolescents were asked to complete daily diary entries, with a subset of 10 participants asked to complete follow-up interviews. RESULTS: Inductive reflexive thematic analysis generated two themes: 'Appreciating the moment' and 'Becoming a better version of myself'. Themes addressed how self and other comparisons facilitated a renewed appreciation for achievements and pleasures in life due to living with chronic pain. Adolescents further demonstrated a perception of continued personal and social growth in their experience of chronic pain, including increased emotional maturity, resilience, positivity, kindness and improved communication skills. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that adolescents can experience positive changes in functioning and flourish in some domains of life despite, or resulting from, chronic pain. Further research with an exclusive focus on flourishing is needed to build on this work and address this important gap in knowledge. SIGNIFICANCE: We present evidence that adolescents can flourish when living with chronic pain. Such knowledge may inform the development of positive psychological treatment strategies that are focused on reinforcing adolescents' existing strengths, to expand on current treatment options for adolescents living with chronic pain.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Pain

Publication Date





896 - 911


Humans, Adolescent, Child, Chronic Pain, Qualitative Research