Pain beliefs and the use of cognitive-behavioral coping strategies.
Patients' beliefs about chronic pain, such as how long it will last and whether it is a mysterious experience, have been shown to be related to compliance with treatment programs. The present study examined whether these pain beliefs related to a specific component of pain management, namely the frequency of use and the perceived effectiveness of cognitive and behavioral coping strategies. One hundred twenty chronic pain patients were administered the Pain Beliefs and Perceptions inventory (PBAPI) and the Coping Strategies questionnaire (CSQ). A cluster analysis of 2 pain beliefs (that pain is enduring and that pain is mysterious) was conducted revealing 3 distinct subgroups of patients based upon these 2 beliefs. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to detect whether the use of cognitive-behavioral pain coping strategies differed in patients in the 3 pain beliefs subgroups. The results indicated that patients belonging to the group characterized by the belief that pain was enduring and mysterious were less likely to use cognitive coping strategies (e.g., reinterpretation of pain sensation), more likely to catastrophize, and less likely to rate their coping strategies as effective in controlling and decreasing pain than patients believing their pain to be understandable and of short duration. The implications of these results for understanding the patient's choice of and compliance with treatment and coping efforts is discussed.
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