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Acceptance of the unpleasant reality of chronic pain: effects upon attention to pain and engagement with daily activities

Viane, Ilsea,b,*; Crombez, Geerta,b; Eccleston, Christopherc; Devulder, Jacquesd; De Corte, Wilfriede

doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2004.09.008

This paper investigates whether acceptance was related to less attention to pain, and to more engagement with daily activities. The results of two studies are reported. In a first cross-sectional study, 501 chronic pain patients completed self-report instruments on pain severity, attention to pain and acceptance. In a second diary study, 62 patients with chronic pain reported pain intensity, attention to pain and characteristics of goal-directed behaviour 8 times a day using an experience sampling method. Acceptance was measured using a self-report instrument. It was found that acceptance was related to less attention to pain (study 1 and study 2), more engagement with daily activities, a higher motivation to complete activities and a better efficacy to perform daily activities (study 2). Results are discussed in terms of how a positive life despite pain may be preserved by a flexible adjustment of personal goals to current limitations and adversities.

aDepartment of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

bResearch Institute for Psychology and Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK

cPain Management Unit, University of Bath, Bath, UK

dDepartment of Anesthesia, Pain Clinic, University Hospital of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

eDepartment of Data Analysis, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +32 9 264 91 05; fax: +32 9 264 91 49.


Submitted June 9, 2004; revised August 25, 2004; accepted September 8, 2004.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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