This study examined the cross-sectional associations among pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and sleep disturbance among patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) and reporting co-occurring chronic pain.
Materials and Methods:
Participants were 89 individuals with OUD and chronic pain drawn from a larger cross-sectional study of 164 MMT patients who completed a battery of self-report measures. The authors conducted 6 mediation models to test all possible pathways (ie, each variable tested as an independent variable, mediator, or dependent variable).
The only significant mediation effect was an indirect effect of sleep disturbance on pain intensity through pain catastrophizing. That is, greater sleep disturbance was associated with greater pain catastrophizing, which in turn was associated with greater pain intensity.
Altogether, findings suggest that the sleep disturbance to pain catastrophizing to pain intensity pathway may be a key mechanistic pathway exacerbating pain issues among MMT patients with OUD and chronic pain. These results suggest that interventions targeting sleep disturbance may be warranted among MMT patients with OUD and chronic pain. Future work in this area with longitudinal data is warranted.