Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Jeffrey Schatz


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders characterized by recurrent pain. A distinctive obstacle to managing pain in this condition is the substantial heterogeneity of outcomes observed in children, including the rate, intensity, duration, and extent of disability from pain. Previous studies have largely examined this heterogeneity by focusing on either biomedical or psychosocial approaches to this condition rather than pursuing an integrated approach that is consistent with modern conceptualizations of pain. In addition, few studies have examining genetic heterogeneity in pediatric SCD, which remains one of the only strategies for establishing a preventative approach to pain in this condition. In contrast to these approaches, the present project describes an integrated biomedical and psychosocial approach to studying pain in pediatric SCD that consisted of two studies: (a) a study that examined an integrated, biopsychosocial model of pain in SCD and (b) a study that examined a novel genetic marker of pain variability in SCD. The results from these studies are provided along with discussion, clinical implications, and future directions for this work.


© 2014, Alyssa M. Schlenz

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