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Self-Reported Sleep and Mood Disturbance in Chronic Pain Patients

Morin, Charles M. Ph.D.; Gibson, Douglas Psy.D.; Wade, James Ph.D.


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of self-reported sleep disturbance and its relationship to mood disturbance in chronic pain patients.

Design and Setting: Survey of patients referred to a multidisciplinary outpatient pain clinic.

Patients: The sample consisted of 105 consecutive patients (59 men and 46 women), with an average age of 41.5 (SD ± 13.4) years.

Measures: Self-report measures of sleep disturbance and visual analog scales of mood disturbance (anxiety and depression) and pain experience (intensity and unpleasantness).

Results: Patients were grouped according to whether they considered themselves "poor" (n = 68) or "good" (n = 37) sleepers. Poor sleepers reported more difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep and greater pain intensity and pain unpleasantness than did good sleepers. The two groups did not differ on measures of depressive or anxious mood.

Conclusion: The results suggest that sleep disturbance is a prevalent complaint in chronic pain patients, but it is not always associated with an underlying mood disturbance.

Université Laval, Québec, Canada; and Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

Manuscript submitted August 28, 1997; revision received February 26, 1998; accepted for publication June 25, 1998.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Charles M. Morin, Université Laval, École de Psychologie, Pavillon F.A.S., Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4.

© 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.