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Pain Beliefs and Quality of Life in Young People With Disabilities and Bothersome Pain

Miró, Jordi PhD*,†,‡; Solé, Ester PhD*,†,‡; Gertz, Kevin MPA§; Jensen, Mark P. PhD§; Engel, Joyce M. PhD

doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000482
Original Articles

Objectives: Pain beliefs have been hypothesized to play an important role in pediatric pain. However, research examining the associations between pain-related beliefs and measures of function in youths with disabilities is limited.

Methods: In total, 84 youths (mean age, 14.26 y; SD, 3.27) with physical disabilities who indicated they also had bothersome pain were interviewed and asked to rate their average pain intensity in the past week and to complete measures of pain-related beliefs and health-related quality of life.

Results: A number of pain beliefs were associated with different physical and psychosocial function domains, although different beliefs appeared to play different roles, depending on the function domain examined. Across all of the health-related quality-of-life domains studied, a belief that pain is influenced by one’s emotions was associated with lower levels of function. No differences were found in pain beliefs related to age. In addition, a small difference in pain beliefs was found for sex; specifically, girls were more likely than boys to endorse the belief that pain is influenced by emotions.

Discussion: The findings provide new information regarding the role that pain beliefs have in predicting function and have important clinical implications regarding how youth with physical disabilities and pain might be most effectively treated.

*Chair in Pediatric Pain URV-Fundación Grünenthal, Unit for the Study and Treatment of Pain, ALGOS, Catalonia, Spain

Department of Psychology, Research Center for Behavior Assessment (CRAMC), Catalonia, Spain

Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili; Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Catalonia, Spain

§Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Department of Occupational Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Supported by Grant P01 HD033988 from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health. J.M.: work is supported by Fundación Española del Dolor, the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA-Acadèmia) and from grants provided from Obra Social de Caixabank, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (PFR program), RecerCaixa, the Spanish Ministry of Innovation (MINECO; PSI2012-32471; PSI2015-70966-P), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the Fundació La Marató de TV3. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Jordi Miró, PhD, Departament de Psicologia; Universitat Rovira i Virgili; Carretera de Valls, s/n; 43007 Tarragona; Spain (e-mail:

Received March 29, 2016

Received in revised form December 13, 2016

Accepted January 15, 2017

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