, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 30-41

Predicting subjective disability in chronic pain patients

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Subjective disability is considered as the variable that reflects the impact of chronic pain on a patient’s life. This study examines the questions of which syndrome or patient characteristics determine subjective disability and whether there are differences between samples of patients with chronic headaches and low back pain. Direct pain variables and depression, pain coping strategies, and pain-related self-statements (including catastrophizing) are introduced into multivariate regression analyses as potential predictors of disability using a sample of 151 pain patients. Disability is not predicted by pain severity in patients with headaches or back pain. Psychological variables, especially coping strategies, are far more influential. Coping explains more variance in disability in the headache sample than in the chronic low back pain group, whereas depression is more relevant for the degree of disability in the back pain sample.