A photo of Susmita Kashikar-Zuck.

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD

  • Associate Director, Pediatric Pain Research Center
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
  • UC Department of Anesthesia (Aff)
I study psychological factors in pediatric chronic pain and the impact of pain on the lives of children and their families. I also seek to develop evidence-based, nonpharmacologic treatments for chronic pain in children.



I am a pediatric pain psychologist and researcher with over 20 years’ experience in the field. I study psychological factors in pediatric chronic pain and the impact of pain on the lives of children and their families. I also seek to develop evidence-based, nonpharmacologic treatments for chronic pain in children.

As a clinical psychologist with an interest in behavioral medicine, I have always been interested in how psychological factors play such an important role in disease management. During my residency and postdoctoral training years, I became interested in cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain. That training, along with my love of working with children in the clinical setting, led to my interest in developing specialized treatments for youth with chronic pain.

I came to Cincinnati Children’s in 1999. Our interdisciplinary team of pain researchers includes psychologists, rheumatologists, pain medicine physicians, sports medicine and physical therapy experts, biomechanists and statisticians. Our research focuses on the following areas:

  • Physical, emotional and social consequences of chronic pain in children and adolescents
  • Long-term outcomes of chronic pain as youth transition to adulthood
  • Development and testing of safe and effective behavioral and exercise-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pediatric pain

During my career at Cincinnati Children’s, I have led the development of several cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols for children with chronic pain. My colleagues and I are currently testing a novel integration of CBT with specialized neuromuscular exercise training for teens with juvenile fibromyalgia in a large multisite clinical trial, called the FIT Teens (Fibromyalgia Integrative Training for Teens) Trial.

I have published over 100 papers in scientific journals and received continuous National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for my research for nearly 20 years. I also have served on the Advisory Council for the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as well as on numerous NIH study sections. I am an associate editor for PAIN, the flagship journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Additional Languages




Long-term outcomes of adolescents with juvenile-onset fibromyalgia into adulthood and impact of depressive symptoms on functioning over time. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Cunningham, N; Peugh, J; Black, WR; Nelson, S; Lynch-Jordan, AM; Pfeiffer, M; Tran, ST; Ting, TV; Arnold, LM; et al. Pain. 2019; 160:433-441.


Pilot Randomized Trial of Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Neuromuscular Training for Juvenile Fibromyalgia: The FIT Teens Program. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Black, WR; Pfeiffer, M; Peugh, J; Williams, SE; Ting, TV; Thomas, S; Kitchen, K; Myer, GD. Journal of Pain. 2018; 19:1049-1062.

Establishing the Content Validity of a Modified Bank of School Anxiety Inventory Items for Use Among Adolescents With Chronic Pain. Gibler, RC; Abelson, E; Williams, SE; Lynch-Jordan, AM; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Jastrowski Mano, KE. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2022; 47:1044-1056.

The prevalence of chronic pain in young adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Murray, CB; De La Vega, R; Murphy, LK; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Palermo, TM. Pain. 2022; 163:e972-e984.

Processing of pain by the developing brain: evidence of differences between adolescent and adult females. Tong, H; Maloney, TC; Payne, MF; King, CD; Ting, TV; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, RC; López-Solà, M. Pain. 2022; 163:1777-1789.

Juvenile Fibromyalgia in Patients With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Utility of the Pain and Symptom Assessment Tool. Tesher, MS; Graham, TB; Ting, T; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Lynch, N; Wroblewski, K; Weiss, JE. Arthritis Care and Research. 2022.

Development and evaluation of the patient-reported outcomes measurement information system (PROMIS) pediatric pain quality item bank and short form. Mara, CA; Carle, AC; Goldschneider, KR; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Sherry, DD; Dampier, C; Morgan, EM. Pain. 2022.

Augmented Pain-Evoked Primary Sensorimotor Cortex Activation in Adolescent Girls with Juvenile Fibromyalgia. Tong, H; Maloney, T; Payne, M; Suñol, M; King, C; Ting, T; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, R; López-Solà, M. 2022.

Brain Structural Changes During Juvenile Fibromyalgia: Relationships With Pain, Fatigue, and Functional Disability. Suñol, M; Payne, MF; Tong, H; Maloney, TC; Ting, TV; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, RC; López-Solà, M. Arthritis and Rheumatology. 2022; 74:1284-1294.

Characterizing Fatigue Subtypes in Adolescents with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and Pain-Free Controls. Boggero, I; Valrie, C; King, C; Morgan, K; Hagiwara, N; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Journal of Pain Research. 2022; 15:2041-2049.

From the Blog

ACTS One, Scene One
Mind Brain Behavior

ACTS One, Scene One

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD, 7/3/2019

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