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Institute Affiliations

  • Member, Maternal & Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI)

Professional Education

  • Internship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute, Pediatric Rehabilitation Psychology (2018)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Eastern Michigan University (2018)
  • Master of Arts, University of Houston Clear Lake (2013)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Austin College (2011)

Stanford Advisors

Research & Scholarship

Lab Affiliations


All Publications

  • Clinical utility of CAT administered PROMIS measures to track change for pediatric chronic pain. The journal of pain Bhandari, R. P., Harrison, L. E., Richardson, P. A., Arce, A. B., You, D. S., Rajagopalan, A., Birnie, K. A., Sil, S. 2021


    Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) are utilized in clinical registries and trials, necessitating development of benchmarks to enhance interpretability. This study aimed to 1) examine if PROMIS measures administered via computer adaptive testing (CAT) were responsive to change, and 2) highlight one method of assessing clinically significant change for youth seen in a tertiary pain clinic. Clinically significant change was achieved if patients had significantly reliable pre-to-post-changes greater than Reliable Change Index (RCI) value and reported decreased symptoms by at least one severity level (e.g., moderate to mild). Participants were 328 youth (8-17 years old) seen in a tertiary pediatric pain management clinic. Small to moderate effect sizes were noted across PROMIS measures (except Peer Relations). Reliable magnitudes of change were estimated for this sample as approximately 6-point reduction for Pain Interference and Mobility, 9 for Fatigue, and 11 for Anxiety and Depression. Depending on the measure, 10-24% were categorized as improved, 3-6% as deteriorated, and 68-81% were either not clinically elevated at baseline or remained unchanged at 3-months. Overall, PROMIS CAT measures demonstrated responsiveness to change over time. Estimation of clinically significant change offers preliminary yet rigorous benchmarks for evaluating treatment response and sets the stage for understanding treatment effects. Perspective This study assesses responsiveness of CAT administered PROMIS measures and highlights one methodological approach of presenting clinical significance for assessing treatment outcomes in pediatric chronic pain. These benchmarks will allow clinicians and researchers to evaluate treatment response utilizing PROs while allowing for a deeper understanding of treatment effects.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2021.06.009

    View details for PubMedID 34229073

  • User-centered development of a digital exposure treatment for youth with chronic pain Khazendar, Z., Harrison, L., Wicksell, R., Simons, L. CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE. 2021: 607
  • mHealth for Pediatric Chronic Pain: State of the Art and Future Directions. Expert review of neurotherapeutics Richardson, P. A., Harrison, L. E., Heathcote, L. C., Rush, G., Shear, D., Lalloo, C., Hood, K., Wicksell, R. K., Stinson, J., Simons, L. E. 2020


    INTRODUCTION: Chronic pain conditions are common among children and engender cascading effects across social, emotional, and behavioral domains for the child and family. Mobile health (mHealth) describes the practice of delivering healthcare via mobile devices and may be an ideal solution to increase access and reach of evidence-based behavioral health interventions.AREAS COVERED: The aim of this narrative review is to present a state-of-the-art overview of evidence-based mHealth efforts within the field of pediatric chronic pain and consider new and promising directions for study. Given the nascent nature of the field, published mHealth interventions in all stages of development are discussed. Literature was identified through a non-systematic search in PubMed and Google Scholar, and a review of reference lists of papers that were identified as particularly relevant or foundational (within and outside of the chronic pain literature).EXPERT OPINION: mHealth is a promising interventional modality with early evidence suggesting it is primed to enhance behavioral health delivery and patient outcomes. There are many exciting future directions to be explored including drawing inspiration from digital health technology to generate new ways of thinking about the optimal treatment of pediatric chronic pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/14737175.2020.1819792

    View details for PubMedID 32881587

  • Parent Responses to Their Child's Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Measures. Journal of pediatric psychology Harrison, L. E., Timmers, I., Heathcote, L. C., Fisher, E., Tanna, V., Duarte Silva Bans, T., Simons, L. E. 2020


    OBJECTIVE: Parent responses can have a major impact on their child's pain. The purpose of this systematic review is to (a) identify and describe measures assessing pain-related cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses in parents of children with chronic pain and (b) meta-analyze reported correlations between parent constructs and child outcomes (i.e., pain intensity, functional disability, and school functioning). Prospero protocol registration ID: CRD42019125496.METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of studies including a measure of parent/caregiver responses to their child's chronic pain. Study characteristics and correlations between parent measures and child outcomes were extracted. Data were summarized and meta-analyzed.RESULTS: Seventy-nine met inclusion criteria using 18 different measures of cognitive/affective (n=3), behavioral (n=5), and multidimensional responses (n=10). Measures were used a median of three times (range 1-48), predominantly completed by mothers (88%), and primarily in mixed pain samples. Psychometrics of measures were generally adequate. Meta-analyses were based on 42 papers across five measures. Results showed that each of the cognitive, affective, and behavioral parent constructs we examined was significantly associated with pain-related functional disability. A small number of measures assessing parent cognitions and affective functioning were associated with higher child pain intensity; however, the majority were not.CONCLUSION: Findings demonstrate that there is a wealth of measures available, with adequate reliability overall but a lack of psychometrics on temporal stability. Synthesizing data across studies revealed small effects between parent responses and child functioning, and even smaller and/or absent effects on child pain intensity.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa005

    View details for PubMedID 32150254

  • Graded exposure treatment for adolescents with chronic pain (GET Living): Protocol for a randomized controlled trial enhanced with single case experimental design. Contemporary clinical trials communications Simons, L. E., Harrison, L. E., O'Brien, S. F., Heirich, M. S., Loecher, N., Boothroyd, D. B., Vlaeyen, J. W., Wicksell, R. K., Schofield, D., Hood, K. K., Orendurff, M., Chan, S., Lyons, S. 2019; 16: 100448


    Chronic musculoskeletal pain in adolescence is a significant public health concern with 3-5% of adolescents suffering from significant pain-related disability. Pain-related fear and avoidance of activities has been found to have a significant influence on pain outcomes in children and adolescents and is a risk factor for less favorable response to treatment. To address this need, we developed graded exposure treatment for youth with chronic pain (GET Living). We describe the rationale, design, and implementation of a two-group randomized controlled trial (RCT) enhanced with single-case experimental design (SCED) methodology with a sample of 74 adolescents with chronic musculosketal pain and their parent caregivers. GET Living includes education, behavioral exposures, and parent intervention jointly delivered by pain psychology and physical therapy providers. The multidisciplinary pain management control group includes pain psychology delivered education and pain self-management skills training (e.g., relaxation, cognitive skills) and separate physical therapy. Assessments include brief daily diaries (baseline to discharge, 7-days at 3-month and 6-month follow-up), comprehensive in-person evaluations at baseline and discharge, and questionnaire across all time points (baseline, discharge, 3-month and 6-month follow-up). Primary outcome is pain-related fear avoidance. Secondary outcome is functional disability. We also outline all additional outcomes, exploratory outcomes, covariates, and implementation measures. The objective is to offer a mechanism-based, targeted intervention to youth with musculoskeletal pain to enhance likelihood of return to function.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.conctc.2019.100448

    View details for PubMedID 31650069

  • Functional Impairment Predicts Outcome of Youth With Headache in the Emergency Department. Clinical pediatrics Hemberg, J. L., Pomeranz, E. S., Rogers, A. J., Lo, S. L., Harrison, L. E., Donohue Bs, L. E., Kullgren, K. A. 2019: 9922819884585


    Headache is a common presenting complaint in emergency departments (EDs), with the goal of improving acute pain. However, youth with chronic headaches may demonstrate broad functional impairment in their lives due to headaches. Our objective was to determine if degree of functional impairment predicts ED course for patients with headache as part of a clinical protocol. One hundred and thirty-seven pediatric patients presenting to an ED with headache were included. Patients and parents were administered the Functional Disability Index (FDI) and ED charts were reviewed to evaluate outcomes. Higher child-reported FDI scores were associated with more medications, longer ED stay, and admission. High parent-proxy FDI score was associated with longer ED stay. Both pain score and parent-proxy FDI score were associated with imaging. The FDI was a more useful predictor of visit resources than pain score. FDI scores could be used to help anticipate patients who may require greater time and resources.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0009922819884585

    View details for PubMedID 31690099

  • Rapid identification and clinical indices of fear-avoidance in youth with chronic pain. Pain Heathcote, L. C., Bhandari, R. P., Timmers, I., Harrison, L. E., Simons, L. E. 2019


    Pain-related fear and avoidance are increasingly demonstrated to play an important role in adult and childhood chronic pain. The Fear of Pain Questionnaire for Children (FOPQC) is a 24-item measure of pain-related fear-avoidance in youth that has demonstrated good indices of reliability and validity, treatment responsiveness, and associations with brain circuitry alterations. This study describes the development and psychometric examination of the FOPQC-SF, a short form of the original measure. We selected 10 items for the short form that best represented the content and two-factor (Fear and Avoidance) structure of the original measure from a cohort of 613 youth (Mage = 14.7 years) with chronic pain. Next, confirmatory factor analyses from a second sample of 526 youth (Mage = 14.7 years) with chronic pain who completed the FOPQC-SF supported the original two-factor model but indicated that one item should be moved to the avoidance subscale. The FOPQC-SF demonstrates strong internal consistency and moderate-to-strong construct and criterion validity. Three-month test-retest reliability estimates (N=94) were strong and there was preliminary evidence of responsivity to change. To aid integration into intervention trials and clinical practice, we provide clinical reference points and a criterion to assess reliable change. The short form could be used for rapid identification of pain-related fear and avoidance in youth during clinic evaluations, and is optimized for clinical registries.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001742

    View details for PubMedID 31688496

  • Profiling Modifiable Psychosocial Factors among Children with Chronic Pain: A Person-Centered Methodology. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society Richardson, P. A., Birnie, K. A., Harrison, L. E., Rajagopalan, A. n., Bhandari, R. P. 2019


    Targeting individually based psychosocial profiles when treating children with chronic pain and their families is key to effective behavioral health intervention and in line with tenants of precision medicine. Extant research is primarily driven by variable-centered models that focus on broad, group-level differences. The current study adopts a person-centered approach, latent profile analysis (LPA), to identify patient subgroups. Cross-sectional data are presented from 366 children (8-17 years; M=14.48; SD=2.36) with chronic pain and a primary caregiver (94% mothers). LPA indicator variables were, self-reported: fatigue, internalizing symptoms, pain catastrophizing, and pain acceptance; parent-reported: pain catastrophizing and responses to child pain. One-way ANOVAs examined the effect of profiles on child age, pain, and function. LPA identified a four-profile solution. Class 1 (12%) demonstrated the lowest scores (conveying least risk) across 5 of 6 factors. Class 4 (37%) had the highest scores (conveying greatest risk) across all factors. Classes 2 (12%) and 3 (39%) demonstrated more variability across domains. Results revealed significant effects of profile based on child age, pain, and function. This study highlights differential presentation of treatment-modifiable domains within a large sample. LPA methodology is showcased to potentially facilitate clinical conceptualizations and tailored approaches to intervention in pediatric chronic pain. Perspective: This article presents a methodological and statistical approach that may be beneficial to better assess individual profiles of pediatric pain functioning. Tools that allow providers to better match patient presentation and intervention are in line with the tenants of precision medicine and may ultimately serve to improve child outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.08.015

    View details for PubMedID 31521795

  • Best-Evidence for the Rehabilitation of Chronic Pain Part 1: Pediatric Pain. Journal of clinical medicine Harrison, L. E., Pate, J. W., Richardson, P. A., Ickmans, K. n., Wicksell, R. K., Simons, L. E. 2019; 8 (9)


    Chronic pain is a prevalent and persistent problem in middle childhood and adolescence. The biopsychosocial model of pain, which accounts for the complex interplay of the biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors that contribute to and maintain pain symptoms and related disability has guided our understanding and treatment of pediatric pain. Consequently, many interventions for chronic pain are within the realm of rehabilitation, based on the premise that behavior has a broad and central role in pain management. These treatments are typically delivered by one or more providers in medicine, nursing, psychology, physical therapy, and/or occupational therapy. Current data suggest that multidisciplinary treatment is important, with intensive interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation (IIPT) being effective at reducing disability for patients with high levels of functional disability. The following review describes the current state of the art of rehabilitation approaches to treat persistent pain in children and adolescents. Several emerging areas of interventions are also highlighted to guide future research and clinical practice.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/jcm8091267

    View details for PubMedID 31438483

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