Pain Beliefs Mediate Relations Between General Resilience and Dysfunction from Chronic Back Pain

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Abstract

Purpose/Objective: A substantial percentage of people affected by chronic back pain maintain a high quality of life despite ongoing discomfort. Presumably, more resilient persons view pain and their capacities to manage it in a manner that mitigates pain-related dysfunction. Research Method/Design: To test this premise, 307 mainland Chinese adults with chronic back pain (189 women, 118 men) completed self-report measures of psychological resilience, pain beliefs (challenge appraisals of pain, pain self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing) and pain-related dysfunction (i.e., pain intensity, disability, affective distress, depression) within a cross-sectional research design. Results: Structural equation modeling indicated elevations in general psychological resilience were related to more frequent appraisals of pain as a challenge, higher pain self-efficacy levels, and lower pain catastrophizing levels. In turn, resilience, pain self-efficacy, and pain catastrophizing were linked to pain-related dysfunction while challenge appraisals were not. Conclusions/Implications: Together, results underscored specific pain beliefs underlying the pathway between resilience and reduced dysfunction from chronic back pain. Aside from evaluating dysfunctional expectancies (e.g., pain catastrophizing) and outcomes, practitioners and researchers should consider beliefs about personal effectiveness in managing pain within assessment and treatment protocols of chronic back pain.

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