Applying centrality of event to persistent pain: a preliminary view.
UNLABELLED: Living with persistent pain is a complex experience. Based on clinical observations, persistent pain is often described as a stressful life event that has significantly altered how patients view themselves and the world around them. The Centrality of Event Scale (CES) assesses how much a stressful life event serves as a turning point in the individual's life, forms a reference point for personal identity, and affects the attribution of meaning to other life experiences. In this study, 47 patients with persistent pain were asked to complete the CES using "the experience of persistent pain" as the designated stressful life event. Data analyses revealed patients scoring high on the CES (ie, those who viewed persistent pain as a central life event) were significantly more likely to experience higher levels of pain intensity (r = .35, P = .02), life interference due to pain (r = .50, P = .002), and psychological distress (r = .46, P = .001). Additional analyses revealed that the CES was a significant predictor of life interference due to pain and psychological distress even after controlling for the effects of age, sex, education, and pain intensity. PERSPECTIVE: The experience of persistent pain can serve as a major turning point in patients' lives, affect patients' interpretations of other life events, and become a key component of patients' identities. The results of this study indicate that centrality of event, a relatively new construct, could improve our understanding of persistent pain.
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