Peritraumatic Pain in Child Maltreatment: A Systematic Literature Review

Noga Tsur*, Ada Talmon, Nofar Shemesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Extensive research has been conducted on the link between trauma, child maltreatment (CM), and chronic pain. Although the risk of suffering from chronic pain among CM survivors has been established, much less is known about the experience of pain during CM incidents or whether such peritraumatic pain sensations are associated with later chronic pain. This scoping review was conducted to synthesize the existing literature on pain during and a short time following CM (i.e., peritraumatic pain). Utilizing the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines, the current review included 11 manuscripts, which met the following criteria: (a) refer to physical pain experienced during or a short time after CM, (b) were published in peer-reviewed journals, and (c) were written in English. The review demonstrated that most of the included studies were not intentionally focused on peritraumatic pain, the majority used qualitative research methods, and all were cross-sectional. Furthermore, although validated questionnaires are available, most of the studies did not utilize such measures. Those that intentionally reported pain demonstrated its high intensity and prevalence in CM incidents, indicating that pain is inherently embedded in the experience of maltreatment. The findings spotlight an underdeveloped research realm on a phenomenon that may hold significant empirical, clinical, and legal implications. Research endeavors should initiate interdisciplinary bodies of knowledge to establish well-validated research methodologies that properly quantify peritraumatic pain in trauma and CM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725-1736
Number of pages12
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2024


  • acute pain
  • child abuse
  • child maltreatment
  • pain
  • peritraumatic pain
  • trauma


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