Skip Navigation LinksHome > January 2015 - Volume 31 - Issue 1 > The Role of Illness Perceptions in Predicting Outcome After...
Clinical Journal of Pain:
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000085
Original Articles

The Role of Illness Perceptions in Predicting Outcome After Acute Whiplash Trauma: A Multicenter 12-month Follow-up Study

Gehrt, Tine B. BSc*; Wisbech Carstensen, Tina Birgitte PhD*; Ørnbøl, Eva MSc*; Fink, Per K. PhD*; Kasch, Helge PhD; Frostholm, Lisbeth PhD*

Supplemental Author Material
Collapse Box


Objectives: To examine (1) whether the patients’ perceptions of their symptoms immediately after the accident and at 3-month follow-up predict working ability and neck pain at 12-month follow-up and (2) the possible changes in patients’ illness perceptions during the follow-up period.

Materials and Methods: A total of 740 consecutive patients exposed to acute whiplash trauma consulting emergency units and general practitioners in 4 Danish counties from 2001 to 2003. The patients completed questionnaires at baseline, 3-, and 12-month follow-up. Illness perceptions were measured using a condensed version of the Illness Perception Questionnaire and a 1-item question concerning return to work expectation. Neck pain was measured using an 11-point box scale, and working ability was measured by self-report at 12-month follow-up. Multiple logistic regression analyses were applied controlling for possible confounders.

Results: Patients with pessimistic illness perceptions at baseline and 3-month follow-up were more likely to experience neck pain and affected working ability at 12 months compared with patients with optimistic illness perceptions. Negative return-to-work expectation predicted affected working ability at 12 months. Furthermore, patients with high neck pain intensity or affected working ability report more changes in their illness perceptions during follow-up than patients with low neck pain intensity or unaffected working ability.

Discussion: The findings are in line with the common-sense model of illness and previous research demonstrating that patient’s expectations for recovery and illness perceptions might influence the course after whiplash injury. Illness perceptions and expectations may provide a useful starting point for future interventions and be targeted in the prevention of chronicity.

© 2015 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.