B3834 - Exploring the association between chronic pain and academic achievement in a UK cohort - 12/07/2021

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Anthea Percy | Queen's University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Mr Darragh Mullen, Hannah Sallis
Title of project: 
Exploring the association between chronic pain and academic achievement in a UK cohort.
Proposal summary: 

Chronic pain impacts almost every aspect of the lives of the young people who experience it, including sleep, social relationships, and family dynamics. In an educational context, the presence of chronic pain for young people has been associated with lower levels of attendance and school functioning, as well as possible reductions in measures of academic achievement such as school grades, keeping up with schoolwork, and perception of school achievement. Recent research has also highlighted the potential role that poor sleep or sleep disorders may play in compromised educational performance. Through integrating these two research threads, this study will examine the possibility that the impact of chronic pain on educational outcomes is mediated through disturbed sleep in young people who experience chronic pain relative to their pain-free peers. Firstly, the study will map out the characteristics of young people aged 17 with chronic pain in a UK educational context. Secondly it will examine whether young people with chronic pain at age 17 find it more difficult to achieve in school compared to their peers who don't experience chronic pain after we take into account a range of other factors such as gender, IQ, socioeconomic status, and special educational needs. Finally, this project will examine how factors such as loss of sleep contribute to this relationship.

Impact of research: 
This study will be an in-depth examination of how experiencing chronic pain may adversely affect young people's ability to achieve academically within a UK educational context. There is a limited research literature on this topic. The study also harnesses recent advances in our understanding of the impact of adolescent sleep disturbances and their impact on developmental outcomes, such as educational performance. It is hoped that the analysis may shed light on possible opportunities for prevention and intervention to improve educational outcomes for young people experiencing chronic pain.
Date proposal received: 
Saturday, 10 July, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 12 July, 2021
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Cognitive impairment, Learning difficulty, Mental health, Pain, Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Intelligence - memory, Sleep, Social science