A comparison of coping strategies in chronic pain patients in different age groups.
This study examined the effects of age on the frequency of use and perceived effectiveness of coping strategies in patients having chronic pain. Subjects were chronic pain patients in four age groups (young, middle, older, and geriatric). All subjects completed the Coping Strategies Questionnaire, which measures the use and perceived effectiveness of a variety of cognitive and behavioral coping strategies in controlling and decreasing pain. Subjects also completed measures of pain, depression, and psychological distress. Data analysis revealed that there were no significant age differences in either the use or perceived effectiveness of pain coping strategies. Correlational analyses based on data combined from the different age groups suggested that, while certain pain coping strategies appear to be adaptive (e.g., coping self-statements), other coping strategies appear to be maladaptive (e.g., catastrophizing, diverting attention, increasing behavioral activities). Patients who rated their ability to decrease pain as relatively high, reported lower levels of depression and pain. These findings are consistent with a contextual perspective on coping which postulates that few, if any, age differences in coping are to be expected when individuals are coping with a similar life event.
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