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Worrying about chronic pain. An examination of worry and problem solving in adults who identify as chronic pain sufferers

De Vlieger, Petraa,b,*; Crombez, Geerta,b; Eccleston, Christopherc

doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2005.10.022
Research papers

Worry is a common feature of chronic pain. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent of worry experienced by adults with chronic pain, and to explore features of problem solving associated with worry and chronic pain. A further purpose was to investigate whether there were differences in worry and problem solving for those presenting at a pain clinic for treatment, compared to those who identified as chronic pain sufferers but who were not presenting for treatment. A final purpose was to examine whether the extent of worry and problem solving attitudes helped to predict the primary clinical features of chronic pain such as intensity, disability and depressive mood. One hundred and eighty five adults with chronic pain provided completed questionnaires assessing worrying, problem solving, pain severity, disability, catastrophic thinking and depressive mood. Analyses showed that worry and problem solving approaches sampled in this study were not abnormal. Furthermore, no differences were found between the clinical and non-clinical sample for worrying and problem solving. In relation to the predictive value of worrying and problem solving, analyses revealed that only worrying had a unique contribution in explaining depressive mood. The results are discussed within a context of a model of worry and chronic pain, in which worry about chronic pain may be functioning to promote awareness of an insoluble problem.

aFaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium

bResearch Institute for Psychology and Health, The Netherlands

cPain Management Unit, The University of Bath and The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Trust, UK

*Corresponding author. Address: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Henri Duantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Tel.: +32 9 264 86 22; fax: +32 9 264 64 89.


Submitted June 13, 2005; revised October 18, 2005; accepted October 24, 2005.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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