P1: Teacher Autonomy and Competence Support may Buffer Against School Absenteeism in Children Reporting Severe Pain
L. Goubert1, T. Vervoort1, D. Logan2, B. De Clercq3, A. Hublet3
1Ghent University, Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Belgium
2Children’s Hospital Boston, Pain Treatment Service, USA
3Ghent University, Department of Public Health, Belgium
Background: Based upon Self-Determination Theory, the current study investigated the association between child/adolescent pain severity and school functioning, and the buffering role of teacher support of child autonomy and competence. Methods: As part of the 2009-2010 Flemish survey of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, 10650 children/adolescents completed questionnaires assessing pain, disability, school absenteeism, academic achievement, school-related pressure/satisfaction, bullying experiences, and teacher’s autonomy and competence support. Findings: Analyses showed that greater pain severity was associated with worse school-related functioning. Interestingly, perceived teacher support of competence and autonomy moderated the impact of pain severity upon school absenteeism. Teacher competence support was also found to protect against the harmful effects of severe pain upon instances of bullying experiences at school. Discussion: The current findings suggest that teachers’ support of child autonomy and competence may buffer against the adverse effects of pain severity upon school functioning. Implications for school-based interventions will be discussed