Evidence suggests that patients’ expectations predict chronic pain treatment outcomes. Although patients vary in terms of expected pain relief, little is known about individual factors related to such variations. This study aims to investigate how patients with various levels of pain relief expectations differ on the basis of biopsychosocial baseline characteristics in the context of multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment.
Materials and Methods:
Data from 3110 individuals with chronic pain attending one of 3 multidisciplinary pain treatment centers were considered. Participants completed a self-reported measure of pain relief expectations and provided information pertaining to biological, psychological, and social variables.
A backward stepwise regression helped identify biopsychosocial variables that significantly predicted expected pain relief. Subsequent analyses suggest that patients reporting low, moderate, high, and very high expectations of pain relief differed significantly in terms of pain duration and depressive symptoms. Significant between-group differences were also found with regard to overall physical health, age, sex, and ethnicity.
Identifying characteristics related to different levels of pain relief expectations is a fundamental step in generating a more comprehensive understanding of how expectations can be of use in the successful management of chronic pain conditions.