Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 908–915

The “self” in pain: the role of psychological inflexibility in chronic pain adjustment

  • Silvia Sze Wai Kwok
  • Esther Chin Chi Chan
  • Phoon Ping Chen
  • Barbara Chuen Yee Lo
Article

Abstract

Self-discrepancy occurs when a person feels the failure to fulfill one’s hopes or responsibilities. Although self-discrepancy has been widely examined to elucidate patients’ chronic pain adjustment, the underlying mechanism is unclear. The present study proposes that the effect of self-discrepancy on pain outcomes is accounted for by psychological inflexibility, which involves the psychological processes that guide behaviors in the pursuit of goals and values. One-hundred patients with chronic pain were recruited from a public hospital. They were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview regarding their self-discrepancy and complete self-reported questionnaires regarding their psychological inflexibility and pain outcomes. The results confirmed that psychological inflexibility partly accounts for the variance observed between self-discrepancy and pain outcomes. The current study provides additional insight into the mechanism underpinning the impact of self-discrepancy on patients’ pain adjustment and offers clinical implications regarding the use of acceptance commitment therapy for chronic pain management.

Keywords

Chronic pain Self-discrepancy Psychological inflexibility Acceptance Goal pursuit 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Sze Wai Kwok
    • 1
  • Esther Chin Chi Chan
    • 2
  • Phoon Ping Chen
    • 2
  • Barbara Chuen Yee Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Pain Management Clinic, Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole HospitalHong Kong SARChina

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