Is Pain Catastrophizing a Stable Trait or Dynamic State in Patients Scheduled for Knee Arthroplasty?

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This study sought to clarify whether pain-related catastrophizing is a response that varies given a specific situational circumstance (state) or an enduring personality construct (trait).


We conducted a cohort study of 150 patients undergoing total knee arthroscopy at 2 hospitals. Patients completed a battery of psychological measures, provided various sociodemographic data, and were followed for 6 months. We hypothesized that associated total knee arthroscopy surgery and recovery would predict future catastrophizing severity.


After controlling for baseline covariates of age, sex, ethnicity, depression, and anxiety, we found that current pain sensation intensity predicted future catastrophizing severity. Change in pain intensity was associated with the change in catastrophizing for the baseline to 6 months postsurgery, but not between the baseline to 2 months postsurgery.


These data provide preliminary support for the notion that pain-related catastrophizing is a dynamic construct that is related to pain intensity.

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