Hypervigilance to Pain in Fibromyalgia: The Mediating Role of Pain Intensity and Catastrophic Thinking About Pain


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo investigate the mediating role of pain intensity, catastrophic thinking about pain, and negative affectivity in explaining enhanced attention for pain in patients with fibromyalgia.MethodsSixty-four patients with fibromyalgia and 46 patients with chronic low back pain completed self-report instruments of vigilance to pain, negative affectivity, and catastrophic thinking about pain. These measures, along with diagnostic group and pain intensity, were entered into a partial correlational analysis to investigate which variables mediate the relationship between diagnostic group (fibromyalgia vs. chronic low back pain) and vigilance to pain.ResultsFibromyalgia patients reported significantly greater vigilance to pain than patients with chronic low back pain. They also reported higher pain intensity, more negative affectivity, and more catastrophic thinking about pain than patients with chronic low back pain. Vigilance to pain was correlated significantly with pain intensity, negative affectivity, and catastrophic thinking about pain. Further analyses revealed that pain intensity and catastrophic thinking about pain, but not negative affectivity, mediated the relationship between diagnostic group and vigilance to pain.ConclusionFibromyalgia patients report a heightened vigilance to pain. This vigilance is not a unique characteristic of fibromyalgia but is related to the intensity of pain and catastrophic thinking about pain.

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