The use of pain coping strategies by patients with phantom limb pain

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Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between the use of pain coping strategies and the level of pain and psychological distress experienced by patients suffering from a variety of chronic pain syndromes. The present study assessed coping strategy use in patients suffering from phantom limb pain by means of the Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ). Sixty phantom limb pain patients completed the CSQ and measures of pain and psychological distress. The factor structure of the CSQ was found to be broadly similar to that obtained in other studies of chronic pain. Three factors reflecting ‘Cognitive Coping’, ‘Helplessness’ and ‘Pain Denial’ were found. Both pain report and psychological distress were found to be related to use of strategies within factor 2 (Helplessness), the number of different drugs patients used, and the time they had experienced phantom limb pain. Twenty percent of the variance in pain scores and 19% of the variance in psychological distress were significantly explained by coping strategies included in the 3 factors on the CSQ. Patient history variables significantly explained a further 14% of the variance in pain scores and 14% of the variance in psychological distress. Examination of regression analyses of the subscales of the CSQ revealed that catastrophising explained the largest proportion of the variance in pain report and psychological distress.

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