Beyond Abdominal Pain: Pain Beliefs, Pain Affect, and Distress as Determinants of Quality of Life in Patients With Chronic Pancreatitis

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Abstract

Goals:

To assess the relationship between pain, psychological processes, and quality of life (QOL) in chronic pancreatitis (CP).

Background:

CP is a progressive inflammatory disorder of the pancreas characteristically resulting in abdominal pain and impairing QOL. Pain due to CP is poorly understood and frequently difficult to treat. This pain has historically been understood as a peripheral process originating from the pancreas itself, but a growing body of literature is revealing an important role offered by central influences. Viewed through the perspective of the biopsychosocial model of illness, cognitive variables strongly influence QOL. However, there is little understanding of variables that influence QOL in CP.

Study:

Patients with CP from the University of Alabama at Birmingham were administered a 165-question test battery which was comprised of questionnaires evaluating pain beliefs, disease-specific QOL, psychological distress, pain sensation, pain affect, and long-term suffering.

Results:

Sixty-eight subjects completed the question battery between February 28, 2011 and January 16, 2014. Almost all (91.2%) reported taking pain medication. QOL was significantly associated with reported levels of pain intensity (r=−0.52, P<0.01) as well as perceived self-blame.

Conclusions:

The significant predictors of QOL impairment in CP are pain intensity and perceived self-blame for pain. Further research is needed to elucidate this relationship while also evaluating the effectiveness of systematic modification of these variables in an attempt to improve pain and QOL in CP.

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