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Pain catastrophizing and distress intolerance: prediction of pain and emotional stress reactivity

  • R. Kathryn McHughEmail author
  • Elizabeth T. Kneeland
  • Robert R. Edwards
  • Robert Jamison
  • Roger D. Weiss
Article
  • 42 Downloads

Abstract

Exposure to stress is associated with poor outcomes in people with chronic pain. Dispositional variables, such as pain catastrophizing and distress intolerance, may impact reactivity to stressors. Importantly, these variables can be modified with treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pain catastrophizing and distress intolerance were associated with tolerance of a pain stressor or a psychosocial stressor, and heightened negative affect following these stressors. A sample of 50 adults with chronic pain completed self-report measures and pain and psychosocial stress inductions. Results indicated that pain catastrophizing was associated with heightened anxiety during pain induction. Distress intolerance was associated with negative affect following a psychosocial stressor, and with poorer tolerance of the psychosocial stressor. Pain catastrophizing and distress intolerance are related factors, however, they exhibit distinct associations with amplification of pain and psychosocial stress reactivity. These variables may be important treatment targets in people with chronic pain.

Keywords

Chronic pain Pain catastrophizing Distress intolerance Stress reactivity Opioids 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant Numbers DA034102 and DA035297).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Weiss has been a consultant to Indivior, Alkermes, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, GW Pharmaceuticals, US World Meds, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Daiichi Sankyo. Drs. McHugh, Kneeland, Edwards and Jamison report no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kathryn McHugh
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elizabeth T. Kneeland
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert R. Edwards
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert Jamison
    • 3
    • 4
  • Roger D. Weiss
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Alcohol and Drug AbuseMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Pain Management CenterBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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