Dispositional Versus Episode-Specific Assessment of Children’s Coping with Pain

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Objective To evaluate the relation between dispositional and episode-specific pain coping measures, the variability of episode-specific pain coping over time, and the utility of dispositional versus episode-specific measures of pain coping in predicting outcomes in pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain (CAP). Method Participants (N = 116) completed a clinic interview, a week of daily diary interviews, and 3-month follow-up questionnaires. Daily coping reports were averaged and compared to dispositional coping reports. Coping reports were used to predict depressive symptoms, somatic symptoms, and functional disability at follow-up. Results Dispositional pain coping measures significantly correlated with averaged episode-specific measures. Passive coping predicted higher levels of all outcome variables. The averaged episode-specific passive coping measure was a stronger predictor than a dispositional measure. Measures of active and accommodative coping were not significant predictors. Conclusions Assessment of coping with specific pain episodes may enhance understanding of pain coping.

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