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Psychosocial Subgroups, Coping, and Chronic Low-Back Pain

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare psychosocial subgroups in terms of pain coping strategies, pain severity, physical impairment, pain behavior, affective distress, and response to pain management treatment. The Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI) was used to classify 67 chronic low-back pain (CLBP) patients into the following psychosocial subgroups: Dysfunctional, Interpersonally Distressed, Adaptive Coping, and Anomalous. These MPI subgroups were compared on the Pain Behavior Checklist, Behavioral Observation Measure of Pain Behavior, Revised Coping Strategies Questionnaire, and Chronic Disease Index. The Dysfunctional subgroup reported significantly more pain behavior, disability, affective distress, and catastrophizing than either the Interpersonally Distressed subgroup or Adaptive Copers, but were not significantly different on measures of adaptive coping strategies. The percentage of dropouts from treatment was significantly less among Adaptive Copers (11%) than among the Dysfunctional (33%) or Interpersonally Distressed (47%) subgroups. Differences in affective distress found among the MPI subgroups at baseline were not evident at the posttreatment assessment. The present findings support the use of MPI psychosocial subgroup analysis to enhance our understanding of differential response to chronic pain and pain management intervention.

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Carmody, T.P. Psychosocial Subgroups, Coping, and Chronic Low-Back Pain. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 8, 137–148 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011309401598

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011309401598

  • chronic low-back pain
  • pain assessment