Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 17–29

Relation of cognitive coping and catastrophizing to acute pain and analgesic use following breast cancer surgery

  • Paul B. Jacobsen
  • Robert W. Butler


This study investigated the relation of cognitive coping and catastrophizing to acute postoperative pain and analgesic use. Fifty-nine women who had just undergone breast cancer surgery rated their pain on 3 consecutive days and completed a self-report measure of cognitive coping and catastrophizing prior to hospital discharge. Analgesic use over the 3-day period was tabulated from pharmacy records. Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that increased catastrophizing and decreased use of cognitive coping strategies would be associated with greater pain and analgesic use. Results partially confirmed these hypotheses. Catastrophizing, but not cognitive coping, was associated with individual differences in pain intensity and analgesic use. Additional analyses indicated that age was a significant predictor of both catastrophizing and postoperative pain. Specifically, younger patients were more likely to catastrophize and to report increased postoperative pain. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Key Words

acute pain cognitive coping catastrophizing surgery 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul B. Jacobsen
    • 1
  • Robert W. Butler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center and Reseach InstituteTampa
  2. 2.Departments of Pediatrics and NeurologyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew York
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South FloridaTampa

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