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Psychological Resilience, Pain Catastrophizing, and Positive Emotions: Perspectives on Comprehensive Modeling of Individual Pain Adaptation

Abstract

Pain is a complex construct that contributes to profound physical and psychological dysfunction, particularly in individuals coping with chronic pain. The current paper builds upon previous research, describes a balanced conceptual model that integrates aspects of both psychological vulnerability and resilience to pain, and reviews protective and exacerbating psychosocial factors to the process of adaptation to chronic pain, including pain catastrophizing, pain acceptance, and positive psychological resources predictive of enhanced pain coping. The current paper identifies future directions for research that will further enrich the understanding of pain adaptation and espouses an approach that will enhance the ecological validity of psychological pain coping models, including introduction of advanced statistical and conceptual models that integrate behavioral, cognitive, information processing, motivational and affective theories of pain.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank members of the Resilience Solutions Group. The members of the Resilience Solutions Group (RSG) in addition to the authors of this article are, in alphabetical order: Leona Aiken, Felipe Castro, Mary Davis, Roger Hughes, Martha Kent, Rick Knopf, Kathy Lemery, Linda Luecken, Morris Okun, and John Reich. This work is supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG 026006), Alex Zautra (PI), John Hall (Co-PI). Dr. Zautra thanks the National Institute on Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders for grant support. In addition, the authors are grateful to St. Luke’s Charitable Trust and the Arizona State University Office of the Vice President for Research for invaluable support of the RSG.

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Correspondence to John A. Sturgeon.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Psychiatric Management of Pain

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Sturgeon, J.A., Zautra, A.J. Psychological Resilience, Pain Catastrophizing, and Positive Emotions: Perspectives on Comprehensive Modeling of Individual Pain Adaptation. Curr Pain Headache Rep 17, 317 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-012-0317-4

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Keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • Resilience (psychological)
  • Coping behavior
  • Stress
  • Emotional states
  • Social interactions